And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dancing into the Christmas Spirit

Maestro Classics now offers The Nutcracker to purchase on CD or as an MP3. They sent me a physical CD to review for the Crew. Their version of this Christmas classic is performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and narrated by Jim Weiss. Maestro Classics also offers free curriculum guide downloads for all of their studies so we took advantage of that as well for The Nutcracker.

Maestro Classics Review
This disc shares the story of Clara and her nutcracker in about an hour. The music is superb. The familiar tunes are played with gusto, and the sound quality of the CD is crystal clear. As I rearranged my kitchen (prepping for the holidays), my children sat together listening to the beginning of the story. As the excitement built, one was reenacting the battle with his sword while the other twirled and danced. To say they really got into the story would be putting it mildly. This delightful adventure definitely gave us all a little holiday spirit. 
Jim Weiss has the perfect storyteller voice. He put just the right emphasis into each scene as he told it. All the elements together made the story come to life for the kids and for me! I've been to a live production of The Nutcracker, but it was years ago. The kids had only seen a cartoon edition before hearing it on this CD performed by such a talented orchestra. Since Speedy has a fascination with nutcrackers at Christmas, I figured he would enjoy this fun tale and he did. Apple said the story reminded her a little of Alice in Wonderland
A little booklet tucked inside the beautiful CD cover packs a lot of extra information. It includes a history of the ballet and a short biography of the composer Tchaikovsky. There is even a word scramble and a crossword! Those would be great while listening to the CD in the car on a trip! They add some extra educational value but the curriculum guide I mentioned before holds even more. The guide gives information and links to incorporate science, history, language arts, and even math with The Nutcracker. There is plenty of material included in the free download to make a lovely unit study to go along with this Maestro Classic. 
The Nutcracker is the newest CD/ MP3 offered by Maestro Classics. They currently offer 12 different "Stories in Music". From Peter and the Wolf to The Tortoise and the Hare, each of these classics holds educational value. As a homeschool parent, I appreciate the ability to purchase these stories, all performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, at a reasonable price with a free curriculum guide. We live in an area that offers some live performances but not many so that makes the value of this type of resource even higher. I love that my kids can become familiar with these stories in our own home or driving in our car. 
The Maestro Classics website is really a resource all on its own. From free puzzles and games to some free sheet music, the website is a place to go and explore. There's even a free lesson plan to make a trumpet out of a soda bottle! How much fun is that? I'm tucking that one away for a warmer day when my kids can go outside and treat the neighbors to a soda bottle trumpet concert...
See what other Crew members thought about Maestro Classics:
Maestro Classics Review
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