I don't necessarily remember hearing much classical music when I was in school. I know I was obviously introduced to some in my dance classes, especially Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, but I can't specifically remember anything else. When Addison first started homeschooling, we had several classical music CDs that she listened to at bedtime.
I was excited when I found out that I would receive the Peter and the Wolf CD from Maestro Classics to review. I remember hearing Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf a long time ago, and I love the way it introduces the orchestra to children.
Even though a few unnamed children groaned when I told them that I was picking it as the next CD on our road trip, they all enjoyed it. Actually, Addison and Brennan enjoyed it the first time we listened to it. Lauren was so tired that she fell asleep before she heard much. It turned out that she's become the biggest Peter and the Wolf fan of all. She has listened to it multiple times on her own, asked me to play it at bedtime, and even carried it out to the van so that we can listen to it on our way to therapy.
The best part about the Maestro Classics CDs is that they aren't just music. The classical music is accompanied by a narrator telling the story. We were all paying attention to the story and trying to guess what was happening when the music played. Even Lauren has started being able to hear excerpts from the CD and figure out which animal (instrument) she hears.
From an educational standpoint, this CD is fabulous. It is far more than just the orchestral arrangement with an excellent narrator. Other tracks on the CD give information about the composer, teach how to listen to music, and more. Not only did my children learn what each instrument sounds like, they were also introduced to the concept of musical themes being repeated throughout the piece.
If I can combine something I want my children to hear (classical music) with something they want to listen to (a good story), then I have found a product worth its weight in gold.
All of the CDs from Maestro Classics cost $16.98. They also have a few gift sets that combine the music CD with a book. If you go to the Maestro Classics website, you can see that their current special is 3 CDs for $45. I have my eyes on Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Casey at Bat, Swan Lake, and The Sorcerer's Apprentice. The difficult part might be figuring out how to narrow it down to just three.
If you'd like to see what other homeschool families thought about their Peter and the Wolf CDs, be sure to check out The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.