We had the pleasure of reviewing Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and Casey at the Bat.
With each CD, we listen to the music once, hear an explanation of the music, and then listen again to hear what we just learned.
I'll share a little more about each one.
Duration: 7 tracks for a total of 51:14 minutes
Price: $16.98 CD, $9.98 Download MP3
The CD includes a 24-page activity book with biographies, sheet music, words to a sing-along song, information on featured instruments, games, and more.
The CD also includes a dramatic reading of the story, information on whom Mike Mulligan was written for, more about the author, Mike Mulligan's Song, A Sing-Along, and more.
My favorite part of the CD is The Magic Maestro Talks About Composing Mike Mulligan. We learn that the first thing a composer does is choose the instruments to put in the orchestra. We learn a little about the types of instuments in an orchestra, including the strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussions, along with examples of each. Then we learn what composer Stephen Simon uses for Mike Mulligan - Irish bagpipes!
We learn more history behind how Mike Mulligan was composed from learning about two songs playing at the same time to what a musical quotation is - where you take another piece of music and put in it because it reminds you of something. It is very clever how Stephen Simon adds "She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain," when Mike and Mary Anne are digging roads through the mountain.
And a fun part was learning how instruments can imitate people, machines, airplanes, and more.
Then, we listen to the story again, and are encouraged to interact with the story, raise our hands when we hear the bagpipes for Mike Mulligan, and more.
Duration: 11 tracks for a total of 35 minutes
Price: $16.98 CD, $9.98 Download MP3
The CD includes a 24-page activity book with the complete Ernst Lawrence Thayer poem, challenging facts about baseball, sheet music, a recipe, games, and puzzles.
The music and sound effects of cheering crowds and the sounds of the ball being hit all add to the excitement and bring the story to life in a very fun way! This was my first time hearing the story of Casey at the Bat, and I had goosebumps in anticipation! My children were interacting with the music during The Casey March and were up and marching around the room.
In the “In a Cabin in a Wood” song in Flight of the Rabbit, my kids got a lesson on story telling in music.
And they were very excited to make the recipe from the activity book ~ "The March Sundae"
Stephen Simon very cleverly uses a sundae recipe to teach children how composing is like cooking with musical ingredients!
The "recipe" that Stephen Simon used when composing "The Casey March" includes ingredients that represent a "theme." We listened to the Casey March, made the sundae, and listened again for each "ingredient" or theme.
We had a wonderful experience with both Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and Casey at the Bat!
There is really nothing to not like about these CDs! The music is performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the quality of the CDs are excellent. I added them to my iTunes library so I could listen to them on my iPhone, and used a little portable speaker so we could listen anywhere. Whether I played it on my computer or my phone, the music and narration was crisp, clear, and high quality.
I think these both of these CDs are appropriate for all ages, but I think it is important for the interest and excitement to start at the top. I was excited to listen to these and my excitement rubbed off on my young children all the way down to my youngest!
With Maestro Classics, we are learning that music can help tell a story, paint a picture, reflect a mood, or imitate something in real life, like birds singing.
This is a fun way to introduce great music and classic stories while helping children develop listening skills. Conductor and composer Stephen Simon has a unique ability to explain how to listen to music in an enjoyable way, but I really love that Maestro Classics is about listening to music together and making musical memories.
Maestro Classics also offers curriculum guides to tie the CDs into History, Science, Geography, Language Arts, Art, Music, and Math. And more lesson plans and fun projects can be found in the Educational Materials page to accompany the Maestro Classics CDs.
Other Maestro Classics CDs available include:
- Peter and the Wolf
- The Soldier's Tale
- My Name is Handel: The Story of Water Music
- The Tortoise and the Hare (we own this and love it!)
- The Sorcerer's Apprentice
- and more!
I highly recommend Maestro Classics if you too would like to give your children the gift of music appreciation, encourage listening skills, give them an ear for musical instruments, and have a little fun!
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