Friday, January 6, 2012
Maestro Classics ~ Swan Lake
Maestro Classics offers many wonderful CD's of classical music for kids, but to be honest I enjoy them just as much as they do! I love classical music, I have it playing in my kitchen as I cook and clean, it is a big part of our everyday family life. Although we listen often, we don't always discuss who composed the music.
The Story of Swan Lake gave me the perfect opportunity to introduce the kids to Tchaikovsky, and the story behind the music. They recognized the tune right away, we all snuggled up together to listen to the story.
The music is performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and conducted by Stephen Simon. Yadu narrates the story, and he does it very well. The kids love to hear stories, the combination of the beautiful orchestra and the animated voice of the narrator made the story seem to come alive. My daughter told me she closed her eyes and imagined the scenes in her mind.
Track 2 is The Story of Tchaikovsky's Life, told by Bonnie Ward Simon. We listened to this the next day and had some discussions about it together. It was interesting to learn more about him, even though the story was a bit sad.
Track 3 is Speed Metal Swan, performed by Joe Stump on electric guitar. This was my sons favorite! He couldn't wait to share it with his older brothers when they came home for Christmas. We all giggle every time someone new hears it, it is not what they expect to hear when you tell them its Swan Lake. The facial expressions are priceless!
There are 7 tracks in all on the CD, with a total playing time of 54 minutes.
The Maestro Classics website has links to educational materials available for homeschoolers and families to use, music teacher lesson plans, and even projects to do at home to enhance the learning.Each CD also come with a booklet full of activities like puzzles, information on the instruments used, and introductions to the composer, narrator, and other artists and speakers on the CD.
Swan Lake was the perfect title for a composer study in December. I already had Tchaikovsky in my lesson plans for the month, and I had hoped to take the kids to see The Nutcracker performed live. Life has a way of changing our plans though, the first week of December I was driving and a deer ran right in front of us, and totaled our family van.
I ordered Swan Lake and The Nutcracker Ballet on DVD through netflix. The kids said they liked the Swan Lake ballet because they knew what was going on after hearing the story told to them. My daughter said it was almost how she had imagined it in her head. They asked if The Nutcracker was available on a Maestro Classics CD too, not yet but maybe someday. I had to get a book to read The Nutcracker to them so they could understand that ballet also.
I plan on adding more titles to our collection and using them in our homeschool year round. I am very impressed with the quality of the music, how easy it is to incorporate music into our school day, and they are just plain enjoyable to listen to.
You can purchase CD's from Maestro Classics for $16.98 each, or download the titles in MP3 form for $9.98. Other titles include Peter and the Wolf, The Soldier's Tale, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, My Name is Handel- The Story of Water Music, The Tortoise and the Hare, Casey at the Bat, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and Juanita the Spanish Lobster. Bundle packs are also available with discounted pricing.You can listen to previews of them all.
You can also find Maestro Classics on Facebook and Twitter.