October 28, 2015

Peter and the Wolf from Maestro Classics {Product Review}

"I still remember the first time that I experienced the story Peter and the Wolf with music. Hearing the different characters represented by a variety of musical instruments enhanced the beauty of the story and I can remember so much of it even today." This was how I began my review of Maestro Classics last year as I shared why I loved getting to introduce my boys to the power of music in regards to storytelling. Who would have known that this year, I would get the chance to review that very story? I was tickled to officially be able to introduce my boys to the much beloved Peter and the Wolf story, and I hoped that they would enjoy it as much as I did.
Peter and the Wolf by Maestro Classics: A Review

Product Summary

Maestro Classics produces a classical music CD series aimed to introduce children to classical music, by taking beloved children's books and setting them to music. Every piece has been composed/arranged by conductor Steven Simon and is performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The stories are read aloud by a narrator while the music is being performed.

There are currently twelve titles in their collection:
• Peter and the Wolf 
• The Story of Swan Lake
• The Sorcerer's Apprentice
• My Name is Handel: The Story of Handel's Water Music
• The Solider's Tale
• The Tortoise and the Hare
• Juanita the Spanish Lobster
• Casey at the Bat
• Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
• Juanita la langosta espaƱola
• Carnival of the Animals
* The Nutcracker (New!)

Each music CD sells for $16.98, but is also available as a downloadable MP3 for $9.98. As part of this review I was allowed to choose Peter and the Wolf to review with my two boys age 5 and 9.

How Did We Use This Product?

Using this product is simple--I pop it in our big CD player, and armed with the pamphlet, the boys and I enjoy the music. We find that it's a great thing for us to do while we are eating a meal--usually lunch or breakfast, and the boys have a great attention span during this time.

I caught the boys attention simply by announcing the title of the CD--if it was about a wolf, they were interested. So at that point I just let the CD do the work and we listened and I watched as the boys experienced this great piece of music and story for the first time.

I remembered every characters instrument as soon as the music started. I had forgotten how much I REALLY enjoy this piece of music...and right away, I could tell the boys were enthralled.

Both boys wanted to see the pamphlet so they took turns looking at it. They really liked matching the instruments with the characters. We listened to the whole CD the first day, and since then, we have been listening to the primary selections (the actual Peter and the Wolf music) since. That is the part they love the most.

Here is a list of all the items included on the CD:
1. Introduction
2. Peter and the Wolf
3. About the Composer

4. A Russian Peter: Peter and the Wolf played on traditional Russian instruments
5. About the Music
6. Peter and the Wolf Orchestra Only (no narrator)
7. Invitation to Grandfather's Party

8. Kalinka

Samples of each of these tracks are available on the website to get an idea of what to expect.

There are several pages of activities included in the pamphlet, but other than a couple of them, the boys just aren't interested in them. They just want to listen to the music and I'm definitely okay with that.

What Are Our Thoughts on the Product?

It was another hit! The boys adored the music, and loved the story even more. Baby Britches liked to sit with the pamphlet open to the page with the characters and instruments and then he'd say "which one is it for him?" and I'd show him. Once he did that two times, he would then point out the correct instrument for each character every time we listened to it.

They would get excited whenever they heard the duck or the cat and Little Britches told me that it reminded him of what they do on the old Looney Tunes and Tom n Jerry cartoons (the only cartoons they watch). He said that the clarinet used on Peter and the Wolf was the same sound as what they used for Tom.

The awareness and deeper listening has really been great to see. They will be playing toys while the CD is on, and then stop and tell me when they hear the different characters songs. They now are more familiar with the instruments being shared and I think it will be a great tie in when we do a music appreciation class in our homeschool starting in January--where the focus will be on instruments. This gives them a great foundation.

We used the pamphlet and I let them do the games and such in it...but really, they just love the music and want to listen to it.

I love that we can take this with us on a trip and pop it into the CD player and have something fun to do. Now that we have three CD's this really has made our entertainment on the trips more enjoyable.

Is there anything we don't like?
No, not really. This is just a great product and we enjoy it immensely.

Would I Recommend This Product?

Absolutely! This was our third CD and I think they loved it more than the others...or at least just as much! It is a great way to introduce your children to classical music and to bring stories they know to life with a "soundtrack". I think that if you are looking to do something along the lines of music theory in your homeschool, you could easily use these products. Especially since they come with FREE downloadable curriculum guides!

Want to Know More?

We reviewed Peter and the Wolf from Maestro Classics. The Nutcracker was another selection some of our crew members reviewed as well--why don't you check out what their thoughts were on this classic masterpiece!
Maestro Classics Review
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I am so glad that they enjoyed this selection. It also made them ask to pull out the other two CD's we have from Maestro Classics to enjoy all over again! I love having them appreciate good music and responding to it so well! I can't wait to see what our wonderful selections Maestro Classics will add in the future--we will definitely be checking them out!
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