Friday, October 30, 2015

Maestro Classics: Peter and the Wolf

I love music~ of many different styles and eras. My playlists are *quite* eclectic. However, there is definitely something special about classical music (many studies have shown the mental benefits of listening to classical music), and that is one reason why I am so pleased to have been sent Peter and the Wolf by Maestro Classics for review purposes.

Peter and the Wolf is a classic by Sergei Prokofiev, a rather more modern Russian composer. I remember listening to Peter and the Wolf with my father, and requesting that he play the 8-track tape  numerous times (am I dating myself a bit here?). I loved the music then, and I love it now.

Peter and the Wolf is a special piece written specifically to introduce children to the instruments of the orchestra, and teach them to listen to the voices of the instruments. The instruments and the melodies tell a story without words that has enchanted children for nearly 100 years.

Stephen Simon and Maestro Classics have put together a wonderful version.
The CD includes:

  • an introduction to the story
  • a narrated version of the music
  • background information on Sergei Prokofiev
  • little excerpts of Russian music played by Russian musicians on traditional Russian instruments
  • the story of Peter and the Wolf without words

You can listen to brief excerpts of each track on the CD  on the Maestro Classics website. This will give you a good feel for the amount of material covered beyond the actual classical piece.

The CD includes a 24-page educational booklet with more background facts on the composer, some fun and educational activities, and lots of cultural information on the musicians......

and the instruments......  (once you hear the excerpt, you may be hooked!)

This was a wonderful CD to listen to in the car when we had a longer trip, and it caught the interest of the whole family. Beyond the Classical Music of Prokofiev, it includes some delightful songs played on traditional Russian instruments.  My youngest was enthralled with the instruments, and enjoyed reading about them in the educational booklet.

Maestro Classics also makes available a 12 page curriculum guide for free download, if you would like to expand your listening experience into a unit study. I haven't had much opportunity to use the guide yet (only a little as you'll read below), but I have looked it over.
It includes:

  • History
  • Science
  • Geography
  • Language Arts
  • Art
  • Music, and even
  • Math

The activities and links included in the curriculum guide are varied and suitable for a variety of ages. We did play around a little bit with the concept of sound, waves, vibration, and pitch, using rubber bands as recommended in the science section.  Always a fun experiment, and easy to do with materials at hand!

I believe that rather than doing a full unit study all at once, I am more inclined to pull out a different aspect from the guide every time we listen to Peter and the Wolf. Little bits of interesting knowledge that can be associated with this one piece of music.  It would also be a great go-along to a literature study on Russia, with more ideas to expand on the cultural and geographic themes.

I will take a minute here to note that other TOS review members received Maestro Classic's brand new CD, The Nutcracker for review, and you can read my previous reviews of Mike Mulligan and Casey at the Bat,  and my first Maestro Classics review of The Tortoise and the Hare.

If you like classical music, or would like to introduce it to your children, Maestro Classics is a great option that helps to give children more information about the music and the composers while keeping them entertained.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
You can visit Maestro Classics on: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube
I highly recommend following them, as they publish specials on their social media outlets.

Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say about Peter and the Wolf or The Nutcracker. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.

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