What do you get when you cross a favorite childhood tale with an orchestra?
You get Maestro Classics. 😉
I’m making an effort to fit more music study into our week and one of the ways I’m doing that is with Maestro Classics cds. We’ve taken our kids to the orchestra before, and they enjoyed it okay, but the thing about Maestro Classics is that it brings the orchestra to your kids — both physically, but also on their level. I’ve had my eye on them for a long, long time, and we’re finally diving in and trying them out (and I’m going to share our experiences with you!)
Maestro Classics – Music Study Made Easy
I love music, and I know a fair amount about music, but I need help teaching music. I don’t want to get all crazy deep with it, either. At this age I just want to introduce the general elements of music and the orchestra to my children. I want it to be fun and enjoyable. Are you with me?
Maestro Classics is a series of cds that introduces children to classical music through familiar stories. While listening to a favorite story, kids learn to appreciate the mood and style of the music, learn to identify various instruments, learn a little about the people behind the music and learn a little background on the story as well.
Mike Mulligan – A Beloved Story Brought To Life By Orchestra
My son loves his Mike Mulligan book. I actually hadn’t ever read it until a friend gave it to him as a toddler, saying that it was a fave of theirs. I’m glad she did because it became a fave of ours, too! Knowing that my son was a little leery of learning about classical music, I knew that Mike was the man to introduce us (my son) to the Maestro Classics cds.
With the help of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Mike Mulligan is brought to life with a lively Irish tune and a set of “uilleann” (Irish) bagpipes. My kids began dancing and jigging around the room as the music began to play. We had fun listening for the creative ways the story was brought to life (like when the trombones imitated the sounds of airplanes – and you’ll never guess what was used to make the steam sound!)
More Than A Story Set to Music (or About the CD.)
In addition to the Mike Mulligan story, our cd included little “lessons” about the conductor, and also the history behind Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. One of the most interesting things was the track about the music, the instruments used, and the melodies that were included. We had all missed the inclusion of “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain” when we listened the first time through. Now it’s one of our favorite parts!
Also on the cd was a sing along song – a version with words and version without. Not only did we enjoy singing along with the Mike Mulligan song, but we’ve caught ourselves singing it around the house. To hear samples for each track included on the cd, there’s a set of audio samples on the product page.
The Activity Booklet
Each cd comes with a little booklet inside the case. If you choose to download your Maestro Classics, the activity booklet is included in a .pdf with it. Inside you’ll find short biographies about some of the main people involved such as the conductor, the author, even the “Little Boy” who does the voice in the story. Some of these are discussed in the audio tracks and some are not. Also included are a variety of activities. For Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, we found a crossword puzzle, a maze, a dot to dot and a secret code (using music notes to decode it.)
The first time we listened along I asked the kids to just sit and listen and soak it all in. Over the next week and a half we listened to it another 5 or 6 times. For those additional lessons, I would let them read along in the book, and then we included an activity and/or an audio track to take the music appreciation just a little bit farther.
Other Activities We Did On Our Own
To take what we had learned just one step farther, the kids and I spent a few minutes at the end of our study with Mike Mulligan to learn a little more about the orchestra and the instruments. We found a couple of good websites (like this one and this one) to help us look up and listen to the instruments that were referred to throughout the lessons.
Another fun thing we did was taking a few minutes to look up Irish folk dancing videos on YouTube. We had seen the dancing before, but it was good to take a few minutes to listen to the Irish music to get a feel for the sound of it. (What I mean is, *you* know and *I* know that Maestro Classics’ Mike Mulligan sounds Irish, but how do we know that except through frequent exposure? See?)
Did you know??
Maestro Classics also has some Homeschool Curriculum Guides and lapbooks that accompany their cds. Build an entire unit study around each Maestro Classics cd. They have a Kids Club, too.
Final Thoughts on Maestro Classics’ Mike Mulligan And His Steam Shovel
We really did enjoy our first exposure to the Maestro Classics collection (and I have no doubt we’ll enjoy the next one, too!) If you have any questions, leave those in the comments. Or, if you’ve listened to any of the Maestro Classics cds, tell me which is your favorite. =)
This is a compensated review. Compensation, in the form of money or product, does not sway my devotion to my readers to provide a true and honest review. Read my disclosure policy and review page for more information on how I approach reviews. I want to thank Ruth and the Maestro Classics company for providing the product to review.
I’ve check it out before and would love it, but the cost is too much for us right now.
I may have vaguely heard of Maestro Classics before but not in any detail. You gave a great description and it looks interesting.
I do not own any of the Maestro Classics stories, but would love to. We found this particular story at our library and my boys loved listening to it. I don’t know what is holding me back other than the need for other things first in our budget for school items. Maestro Classics is great, especially Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.
We have Swan Lake and would love another one!
i am definitely thinking of adding music to our homeschool~ i would love to try out Maestro classics!
Do not own any yet. Cost is always the issue for us. 🙁
I have never heard of them before, but this looks super interesting!
I’ve heard of them, but we haven’t purchased any yet. I think my little guy would love this!
I have heard so much about Maestro Classics–all good!–and would love to try them. I just haven’t made the leap to buy one yet, so I’d love to win one!
I have loved Mike Mulligan since I was a little girl and would really love to win the Maestro Classics version!
I haven’t heard of Maestro Classics, but I am very interested in them after reading this blog!
Just heard about your blog via Preschoolers and Peace Facebook post! And I’m so glad I did. 🙂 I look forward to browsing more soon.
I’ve never heard of Maestro Classics before, but now that we’ve been introduced I’m very curious about them.
I haven’t heard of Maestro Classics. They sound great, though!!
We love the book and music.
Have not heard of this yet, but have always wanted to start teaching the classics !
U have heard of them. I’m pretty sure we had some when I was being homeschooled but haven’t purchased any for my own home yet.
I bought one from someone local, but our dog ate the book :(. It was all about composers and looked great. I was sad. So excited to see your giveaway!!
I don’t think I’ve heard of it before- maybe the name, but that’s it. We’ve just done some other things for music in the past but would love to give this a try
Cost is the only thing holding us back. The desire to use them is there. Just wishing I had more money to spend on stuff for school.
We LOVE Maestro Classics and have been trying to build our personal library of them. Right now we have three- The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Black Swan, and Handel. We’d love to add Mike Mulligan to our collection! Thanks for hosting!
I have not used Maestro yet but I’ve been looking at it! My kids don’t really “like” classical music. But paired with Mike Mulligan? They love Mike Mulligan!
I’ve never heard of them before! sounds great!
I have never heard of these before! I can’t wait to check them out. Ran across a post linked to this on pinterest and I’m thrilled. What a neat idea.
My kids would like this!
I think I may have heard about Maestro on another homeschool blog. I do not own any, but we love music at our house and would be glad to!
I have heard about Maestro Classics. My daughter listened to samples over a year ago at a homeschool conference. She loved them, but we couldn’t afford to purchase them. We do not own any of them. I would love to eventually own the entire set. They r awesome! Thank you for the chance to win.
I have not heard of Maestro Classics before but I do believe they will be receiving an order soon!
I’ve heard about it a little, but this was great. We would love to start something like this.
I’ve heard of them and would love to have the Mike Mulligan! I haven’t invested b/c of cost–and I’m just starting out so I’m going to get the basics in before adding music study and other great things!
I’ve heard good things about the program on the social media sites.
I have heard of it before and have been really wanting to try it! The price holds us back at the moment. How long does each book last? A week, a month?
You can spend as long as you want on it. The cd has several tracks on it beside the story, the booklet has a few things in it — we spent about a week and a half on it by using those. But if I had used some of the additional projects and studies found in the free curriculum guide online, we could have stretched it out over several weeks, or a month, turning it into a full blown unit study.
That’s good to know, sounds perfect!
I haven’t heard of the Maestro Classics before. Looking at their site, they look pretty awesome.
I had never heard of them but I would love to introduce them to my Mike Mulligan-loving son!
I have never heard of this before and it seems to be pretty amazing! Would love to try it out.
We love Maestro classics! Peter and the Wolf was the first one we ever had and is still a favorite – thanks for the chance to win another!!
I’ve never heard of the company, but I am really interested in them. Sounds great!
I’ve seen these at the homeschool fair, but have never heard one.
I just heard about them this past month (another blog giveaway). They sound amazing. I’ve already spent most of my budget for the coming year, so I’m waiting on these, for now.
I have seen reviews on Maestro Classics. I do not own any of your products. I have had to purchase a lot of curriculum, no money left. Thanks for the opportunity to win and try.
We just bought the Tortoise and the Hare! I am excited to implement it into our studies this year! 🙂