Maestro Classics has a wonderful music appreciation course for kids called Stories in Music. They have 12 wonderful CD’s/MP3 in the series (so far). I am excited to tell you about our experience with using these in our homeschool learning adventures.
We are currently reviewing Maestro Classics, Stories in Music: Peter and the Wolf , performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Stories in Music Series
Stories in Music is an award winning Music Appreciation course. This amazing educational product has won over 50 prestigious awards!
OVER 50 Awards!!!
The Stories In Music series by Maestro Classic covers 300 classic stories put to music that have been told and retold, some of these stories date back 2,000 years in human history. Maestro Classics has preserved this amazing history for generations to come. Stories in Music contains 300 story song combinations, written by the greatest musicians in history, and performed by the London Philharmonic Symphony.
There are 12 CD’s/MP3’s in the the Stories in Music series so far.
- Peter and the Wolf
- The Nutcracker
- The Story of Swan Lake
- Carnival of the Animals
- My Name is Handel: The Story of Water Music
- Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel
- The Tortoise and the Hare
- Merry Pranks of Master Till
- Casey at the Bat
- The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
- The Soldier’s Tale
- Juanita la langosta Española
Each CD / MP3 in the Stories in Music series contains:
- Enjoyable classical music recordings by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and retelling of famous stories.
- Educational teachings including the creation of the music, the life of the composer, music composition, music appreciation, and more.
- High quality fully illustrated Educational Booklet with history of the composer, word games, and more.
- Study Guide e-Book Download that turns your learning adventure into a cross curricular Unit Study!
- Web site support contains Coloring Pages, Puzzle Games, Book connections, Hyper-links to more resources found on the internet.
How We Used Peter and The Wolf In Our Home:
For this review, we received Maestro Classics Stories in Music: Peter and the Wolf to use in our homeschool.
Peter and the Wolf
Music & Story by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) composed in 1936.
Performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra
Produced by Maestro Classics in 2012
For ages 4 and up.
All members of your family at any age will enjoy!
Contains 8 Tracts:
- Peter and the Wolf
- About the Composer Sergei Prokofiev
- A Russian Peter
- About the Music
- Peter and the Wolf (Instrumental)
- Invitaion to Grandfather’s Party
24 page Activity Booklet
Retails for $16.98 each
Special Bulk Discount: Buy Sets of 3 for $45 or 12 for $150
Great for homeschools, coops, public and private schools,
Music teachers, music appreciation, History supplement, after school programs, and more.
View this short introduction to Peter and The Wolf:
This program is FANTASTIC!
We enjoyed listening to the CD. But there is so much more than just listening to this classical music composed by a musical genius so many years ago that has become a classic around the world. Maestro Classics wants you to jump in and gain a deeper appreciation for the music, the instruments that make the various sounds, the history and the culture at the time it was written, the life of the composer, other people in his or her sphere of influence, and more. This program is a RICH experience you and your kids will love!
We love using Unit Studies in our Homeschool. Maestro Classics Curriculum Study Guide is a Music Appreciation Unit Study using the story of Peter and the Wolf as the theme. This guide is in addition to a 24 page activity mini booklet that comes with the CD.
Depending on how fast you work through the guide, this curriculum could last you a whole month if you do a project everyday, or even a whole semester or longer if you do one project a week. Here are a few of the fun things we have done so far with this program to enrich our learning adventure and I have also listed a few future activities we plan to do before we are finished:
1.We learned about Prokofiev’s (the composer) life and career.
2. We learned about history in Russia, and about the Russian people during the 1900’s.
3. We learned about Communism, Joseph Stalin, and the Composer’s Union invented to keep modern music styles out of Russia.
4. He was loved and revered and is still remembered around the world on his birthday.
Future History Activities:
- Make a history timeline of events in Russia, Ukraine, and the World during Sergei Prokofiev lifetime from 1891-1953.
- The study guide gives a movie suggestion to watch the historical-fictional tale of Anastasia, daughter of the Russian Zsar Nicolias II thought to have survived her family’s execution in 1918. This is still on our to do list.
- We looked up Russia and the Ukraine on the map and used our Geography skills.
- We drew the maps of Russia and Ukraine. We are currently doing a mapping curriculum about the USA, and the mapping skills the kids are learning helped them with their Map of Russia too.
Future Geography Activities:
- We plan to do several more Geography activities
- tracing Prokofiev’s life and musical career on the map and all the places he lived and visited.
- We also hope to learn more about life in Russia and the Ukraine including games and make some recipes too.
1. We read the true Biography of Anastasia.
2. Re-tell the story of Peter and the Wolf differently from one of the other character’s perspectives. For example, how did the wolf view the events of the story? We also discussed changing the music by going faster or slower, and choosing different instruments to emphasis different characters. This changed everything about the story and the kids decided they liked Prokofiev’s choices for the music and characters the best.
3. Read Aloud: We read along to the book of Disney’s Peter and the Wolf.
Future Literature Activities:
- Learn the Russian Alphabet.
- Read Russian Poetry.
- Research more Russian Folk Tales.
Arts & Crafts:
We watched a ballet of Peter and the Wolf performed by the Royal Ballet School. The dancers wore colorful costumes and it was really fun to watch the story and listen to the music re-told in ballet. The story is divided into 4 short videos and this was very nice to be able to watch them on different days and discuss them as related to our Maestro Classics curriculum.
2. Create a color wheel and learn about colors.
3. We created a simple diorama of the story with Lego’s. So far we have the boy, his grandpa, the garden wall, pond, bird, duck, and cat. We are in the process of locating a wolf and making our trees and hunters. The kids love learning with Lego’s and want to make a stop motion so we have a lot more work to do to practice our poses more with our Maestro Classics CD and hopefully get our timing lined up and be able to share a Lego movie soon. We may only accomplish one portion as it is a huge endeavor and it takes so many pictures to produce even a few minutes of a stop motion video. We will share it as soon as we can.
4. We watched a very informative video and learned how to create the Russian dolls with real eggs by hand with this video.
5. I don’t think we will attempt making the Russian Matryoshka Dolls learning project suggested in the study guide at this time, but we may in the future. Instead I have printed out a different activity to make an easy set of Russian paper dolls .
6. We also watched a video to make Ukraine style decorated eggs which seemed a little easier and very similar to making / decorating eggs at Easter here in our country.
Future: Arts & Crafts we plan to do:
- The curriculum study guide suggested studying the abstract art and life of Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian painter who lived during the same time as the composer of Peter and the Wolf.
- Make our own abstract art project while we listen to Peter and the Wolf.
- The curriculum suggests we learn to make Russian Dolls and gives a website with instructions to create painted wooden egg dolls.
- I would like to make a stained glass project after researching Russian Cathedrals.
This section is the biggest in the study guide.
1. Listened to the Peter and the Wolf CD.
2. Learned about Russian music with specific Russian sounds and themes.
3. Learned about the Domra (a type of 3 stringed instrument and lute) and other Russian instruments such as the Balalaika (a type of 3 stringed instrument) and Bayan (a type of accordion).
4. Watched a video of people playing Russian folks songs on Russian instruments.
5. Listen to Russian music. Color or draw what we feel while listening to the music.
6. Learned about Program music vs Absolute music and compare various famous songs.
7. Used online links to learn about various instruments in an orchestra
Future Music Appreciation:
- Visit a local orchestra performance.
- Print out the flash cards (instruments, composers, musical instrument families, etc) from links provided in the study guide.
- Learn about Russian folk dance.
- We learned about the difference in sound and pitch and practiced striking a rubber band, filled a few glasses with water, and strummed strings on a guitar to experience sound and pitch in a hands on way.
2. We enjoyed learning more about science of music and sound on the suggested “neok12” web site.
Future Science Activities We Are Still Working On:
- We would like to make a few homemade instruments with directions from the web site. There is instructions for making a drum, a trumpet, and a xylophone. Then, in addition to the fun we will have making and learning to use these instruments, I would also like to help the kids expand the learning adventure by learning about the real science behind each instrument.
- I would also like to see the kids make statistical charts from their results that correspond to the level of water in jars and the pitch or length (or size) of strings and their pitch and see what corresponds with what.
- Chess. The Math activity the kids are encouraged to do involves Prokofiev’s favorite game. He loved to play chess and kids are encouraged to learn how to play and a web site is given to help them learn. My kids have already learned to play, and it is also one of their favorite activities. We play chess at our house several times a week. So they were excited to learn their school work wanted them to “play” chess and they were happy to do so!
- I hope to find some more math to tie into this study.
- Perhaps there is some math related to the music score that we can find.
- Or calculate how much it would cost to buy instruments to make an orchestra.
- Or possibly some math involving distances and expenses traveled by the composer as he performed if he lived today verses back then.
- Maybe there is a Russian geometry or symmetry math project (art and math) we can do.
- Maybe we can make some calculations about economics, population growth, and gross national products etc from Russia too.
Field Trip & Life Skills Ideas:
Future: We did not get our field trips done yet, but before we are done with this curriculum we are planning these outings:
- Attend a local orchestra performance.
- Take a train ride.
- Visit an art museum that displays Russian art. Hopefully we will see art from the same time period.
- Visit a music store and look at the various instruments.
- Visit a restaurant that serves Russian or Ukrainian food.
- Make recipes for Russian and Ukrainian food.
LAP BOOK :
- We are still working on our Lap Book project with of all the fun learning we have accomplished with Maestro Classic Peter and the Wolf. This is a work in progress for us and we will continue to work on it for several more weeks yet. The curriculum guide has some suggestions for worksheets and booklets about history and animals in Russia, games, recipes, etc to put into your lapbook. We will also have our own additions we have done like our field trips, history timeline, and other activities we found in our research too.
There are other Resources on the web site that vary per the CD you are using include Coloring Pages , Puzzles, and the answers to the booklet that came with the CD.
Just a personal note:
My Grandmother loves music and is a composer. Before she got married, she used to sing on the radio. She taught me about music since I was very young sitting on her lap. She taught me to read music and sing accapella. She taught me to harmonize and we all sang as a family. She also taught my father about music and he was a music minister in his local church. He encouraged me to sing accapella along side him in church, sing to the guitar with him when in public, and he bought me a clarinet and taught me how to play it. He could play 21 different instruments and he gave credit to Grandma for encouraging him to pursue his love for music.
I sang in front of church since I was 2 years old. I was given the opportunity to sing on local Christian raido when I was 8 years old and still remember the song was the christian version of You Light Up My Life by Debbie Boone. I got serious about music and studied it in school starting with the clarinet and voice from the 5th grade and all the way through highschool and college. I was in band, choir, music theater performance, and went to many state competitions for choir, solos, and band. I had a great music teacher in high school who spent a lot of time working with me to learn how to use my voice. Then I went on to study music in college. I was in choir, performed in opera, took acting classes, and had 5 years of vocal performance instruction from an amazing college professor.
I volunteered to sing specials every chance I could in churches, weddings, funerals, and for the yearly orientation picnic for the international students coming to America to go to college at KSU. Oh yeah, I sure loved to sing any opportunity given to me. When I look back on it now, I see a big picture being knit together. It amazes me how God used those opportunities to bless and encourage people.
While I was in college I was learning a lot about music and living it as a life style. I learned some basic piano skills and guitar skills and studied lot about music history and education. At one point, I had to make a decision about music, if I wanted to pursue it as a career or not. I had invested so much time and effort to it and I needed to make a serious decision. I decided as much as I loved it, I loved helping people even more and went into medical social work for my degree. But I continued on with music and when I graduated from college, I went on to sing for church choirs, on praise and worship teams, and sing to the elderly in nursing homes, and to my own children.
When I was younger, my grandma always performed for the Veterans at every VA hospital she could. I think she had a weekly or monthly ministry with the Veterans for over 25+ years and I think she sang in VA hospitals in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. She also sang at the local VFW’s too. My grandma has always written music, and Sunday school curriculum, but while I was in college, she began publishing her work and got several patents on her songs. My Grandma began writing music for her local “Golden Follies” group who performed regularly on stage. She also went back into performing and joined my dad on stage for several events. She also wrote music for churches and wrote theme songs for vacation bible schools. Grandma wrote and sang my wedding song too.
My Grandmother also went to the Ukraine 3 times as a missionary. She has a heart for the people of Ukraine and has prayed for many, led several to Jesus Christ, and baptized them. She helped start churches and a Christian movement there. She has a heart of gold, so genuine, and I love her so much. She is my hero. My Grandma’s love for music and her love for people has had a huge impact on me though out my life. My children have this amazing heritage and this has made both them an myself even more excited to learn about music, and the Ukraine with this curriculum.
Maestro Classics is fantastic! The music is amazing, and all the teaching helps really make learning fun. Using the unit study and lap book learning methods are our favorite way to learn and it is so much fun to have a learning adventure about classical music this way.
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Check out what other homeschool parents on the TOS Review Crew had to say about using Maestro Classics products in their homes.