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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Maestro Classics - Review

Fun, music review from Maestro Classics.

You have heard me talk about Maestro Classics before.  This time around, we got to listen to The Nutcracker.

We have used Maestro Classics before when we got a chance to listen to Swan Lake. by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.   I was already much more familiar with the music from The Nutcracker than I was with most of the music in Swan Lake....but, I still learned a lot and completely love Maestro Classics and their whole concept.

Their whole "thing" is to bring classical music to the....ahem.....little people.   Hahahaha!  You know what I mean though, right?  Normal people, not just the tuxedo wearing crowd eating pate in the lobby....asking someone to pass the Grey Poupon.  You know?  Just making it more able to be understood by normal people like you and me.

Maestro Classics puts stories to classical music.  That is all...and yet, it is so much more.

Aside from the music, there is a ton of stuff that can be used for educational purposes too.  The little CD book that comes with has a few learning activities in it that tie to The Nutcracker ( the little 2 page tutorial on the harp just solidified my desire to playing it!), but you can also download other printables and curriculum guides.

The curriculum guide covers ballet, geography, history, science, language arts, normal art, math, (shocker - right?).  Ha!

I did not utilize the curriculum guide for us....yet....because, I wanted to save it and pull it out at Christmas-time for us.  But, I have peeked at it...lots of good stuff on the history of nutcrackers, mini-musical studies surrounding Tchaikovsy.  I always love the sneaky fun math problems(based on some information put together by the Houston Ballet) like....If 70,020 people attended the Nutcracker last year and 30% were men, 25% were women, and the rest were children, how many of each group were there in attendance that season?

So, put in simple terms....this CD/curriculum  from Maestro Classics can be as educational as you want.

But, let me tell you what I absolutely loved about Maestro Classics (both this time and last time)....I personally learned so much about music that I have been hearing for years.  I will say that I completely and totally wish that I had heard Maestro Classics version/story of The Nutcracker before I ever saw the ballet.

I can remember the first time I saw The Nutcracker at a fancy schmancy  ballet company in Minneapolis. was cool. It was magical.  It was magnificent and a feast for my eyes.

And...I was confused for almost the whole entire time.  I remember leaning over and whispering to my friend...", is this part a dream?  Wait....what is happening?"  I am sure, in restrospect, she was completely annoyed.

Now, I know I will have done better for my kids.  They won't be confused.  They will understand the story. Not just be familiar with the music.

The story telling part is done by Jim Weiss, a super talented storyteller from Illinois.  The other thing that is great about this version of The Nutcracker is that it is only an hour long (but it includes both acts and just gives a condensed version of the whole Nutcracker without skipping anything )and it is intended for ages even V-girl understood what was happening.  

I think the idea behind Maestro Classics is brilliant because it makes classic music seem not so out of reach...check them out for your family.  They would be perfect for road trips or when you are out running errands.

Take a look and see what the other TOS reviewers thought of their musical experience from Maestro Classics.