Tuesday 27 October 2015

The Nutcracker {Maestro Classics}

One of our review highlights in 2014 was the one we did for Maestro Classics. We are endeavoring to follow a more delight directed approach along a Charlotte Mason philosophy.  Charlotte Mason encouraged classical composer studies and the listening of great compositions. Personally I have a very limited understanding of classical music and would love to introduce more of this genre of music into our home school.

We enjoyed our first introduction to Maestro Classics so much I was thrilled when they offered us their latest addition to their product line: The Nutcracker featuring Jim Weiss

I am so pleased to have discovered  Maestro Classics. Their aim is to introduce children to classical music through stories. The music on each CD is played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

What we received
  • Digital Download of The Nutcracker 
  • Produced by: Maestro Classics
  • Narrated by: Jim Weiss
  • Music by: Tchaikovsky
  • Adapted by: Stephen Simon
  • Conducted by: Stephen Simon
  • Music played by: London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Nutcracker Activity Book (PDF format)
  • Total download size: 95.2 MB zipped file
  • Total Duration 58 min 01 seconds

How we used it

After downloading the zipped file to my pc I extracted it's contents and imported the music into my iTunes library.  I then burned them to disc.  Nathaniel and I snuggled on the couch to listen to the CD. We were so inspired by the story we found a video on Netflix to watch The Nutcracker Ballet!

CD insert sample

The Activity booklet which comes with the CD is a beautifully illustrated full colour 13 page CD insert containing:
  • A Summary of Act 1 and 2
  • Short History of Ballet
  • A simple sample of the Overture to The Nutcracker
  • An introduction to the Harp
  • Short biography of Mr Tchaikovsky
  • Word Scramble
  •  Nutcracker Crossword Puzzle
  • Biography of Stephen Simon and Jim Weiss
  • A reference to Maestro Classics
  • A contents page referencing each track

The curriculum guide is worth it's weight in gold. It's available as a FREE download from Maestro Classics. This ten page guide is fully interactive with links on every page to interesting information.

The Nutcracker curriculum guide covers:
  • Ballet -  the history, YouTube clips, colouring pages, Nutrition,  Games
  • History - Christmas around the world, mini unit study
  • Geography - history of nutcrackers and a mini virtual field trip
  • Science - simple machines, levers, physics
  • Language Arts - Fairy Tales, 
  • Art - Let's make nutcrackers
  • Books - recommended books
  • Music - mini unit studies on Tchaikovsky, rhythm,  activities
  • Math - Nutcrackers by number, themed Montessori activities
For the Parent
Don't miss out on the amazing extra's that are available on the website
Cost of The Nutcracker*
  • CD version $16.98
  • MP 3 version $9.98 
*All prices are quoted in US $ and are current at time of review. Please consult the Maestro Classics website for current prices
    Other CD's available 

    Connect with Maestro Classics

    What we thought
    We love all things Maestro Classic.  The Nutcracker is perfect for ballet students learning to dance The Nutcracker, introducing children to Tchaikovsky's music, anyone going to see The Nutcracker ballet for the first time and fans of the popular story teller Jim Weiss.


    Click to read Crew Reviews


    1. Thanks Chareen, I went and bought it after your review! The mp3 download is such a help to Australian families - saves on shipping. As a professional musician homeschooling four kids, I value high quality performances of great classics performed with the view to inspire children. You had me at Jim Weiss.

      1. You're welcome. I agree I'm so pleased many of these companies are now offering MP3 purchasing as options it's opened up so many wonderful opportunities for our family.
        Wow what instrument do you play? Yes I too was inspired to look at this one when I heard that Jim Weiss had worked on this one!

    2. Thanks :) I just found this podcast that your readers might be interested in: https://www.circeinstitute.org/podcast/mason-jar-ep-1-introduction-charlotte-mason


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