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Non-Stress Musical Learning ~ Maestro Classics Giveaway

A huge thank you today to Bonnie Ward Simon, Creative Director at Maestro Classics.   I have the privilege of sharing a video and article from Bonnie, as well as being able to give away a copy of Maestro Classic's Peter and The Wolf.     

The Maestro Classics CDs are one of our very favorite resources!!

Why is Music Education Important for Homeschoolers?

As parents, particularly as homeschooling parents, we hold a pact with our children: we will show them the world and all the wonders that are in it. We are the ones hand handing over the torch, passing down all that we have learned from parents and grandparents, mentors and friends, and on the other giving them the tools to go out into the world and make their own new discoveries. It is an awesome responsibility, but also a journey that perhaps teaches us as much as it teaches the children whom we love. There is so much to teach, you may ask, “Why music, too?”

We all have five senses and four of them are quite easy to address. Colorful picture books and patterned mobiles (sight), stuffed animals (touch), baby food plus tastes from our own plates (taste), and stinky diapers and sniffing lilacs (smell) – these four are taken care of almost by themselves. But, what about our children’s ears?

Like all areas of your curriculum, you will have to decide how deeply you want to travel and how much you may want to learn yourself. What you do not want to have is a musically illiterate child. Just as you will be sure that your child has read some Robert Frost poems, some Charles Dickens novels, and some plays by Shakespeare – and you would hope that they could identify them if they read them in the future, so you should hope that you will raise a child who will recognize Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, a Sousa march, a Beatles song, and the theme music from a movie like Star Wars, for example. If you wonder if you can accomplish that at this moment, don’t worry, you will soon be able to. 

Music is one of the journeys that can be as rewarding for the parent as for the child, and sometimes even more so. 

What about the Mozart Effect?

You may have read the studies about the Mozart effect and how listening is supposed to improve spatial intelligence, but the real reason to include music in your curriculum is because it adds a completely new dimension to a child’s world of experience.

Imagine church without music! Imagine movies without music! Imagine weddings without music! Imagine dancing without music! Imagine the world we lived in before portable music players! Music has the power to make you happy, to make you sad, to make you remember things, to keep you company. 

Our job as homeschooling parents is to introduce our children to the great world of music, not because it will make them smarter – studies do show that children how play instruments do better in school – but rather to enrich their lives.

Is classical music the only good kind of music? Definitely not. There is great music in all musical genres, from classical to house music, but it is usually when it comes to classical music that many parents feel least equipped to guide their children. Where to begin?

Start by Finding Classical Music that You Like
The first most obvious place may be with a piece of classical music that you personally like. Can’t think of one? Don’t Worry! Just go to my favorite Top 100 list, begin at the top and start to “Preview.”  (You can listen to samples either in iTunes or Amazon.) I guarantee that you will find one (and probably more than a few) that you either already know or like. I encourage you to select one, purchase it for 99-cents, and listen to it. Regardless of how old your child is, you can listen to it together. It will probably be less than 5 minutes long and if you listen once or twice a day for a week, you will both get know it pretty well. I expect that you will also begin to hear more in the music as the days pass. This is one reason that classical music is touted as being “better”; it is simply that it is more complex and the more you listen to it, the more you hear. 

Let me offer you an example. If you started with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, I would recommend that you then find and listen to “Mr. Beethoven Lives Upstairs,” a wonderful story about Beethoven by Classical Kids. (It is probably in your local library or can be purchased at Amazon.  Next you can find “Ludwig Beethoven and the Chiming Tower Bells”, part of the wonderful older series of easy reader books by Opal Wheeler and you can learn more about the composer. (This can be a read aloud or read alone book, depending on the age of the child.) Then go back to my favorite music site and discover that there are six other works by Beethoven on the Top 100 chart. Listen to them and see if you would like to choose one for the next week’s listening. If you listen to the “Moonlight Sonata,” then Beatles’ song “Because” (Abbey Road album) you may see why John Lennon said he was inspired by Yoko Ono’s playing this Beethoven sonata on the piano. With the internet, you could spend the year on Beethoven, writing biographies, creating timelines, doing lapbooks, but you can also spend just a couple of weeks, because there are so many other composers to discover.

Maestro Classics: Story and Classical Music CDs

The great Russian composer, Sergei Prokofiev, found another way to interest children in classical music. He created the most famous work of all time for narrator and orchestra: Peter and the Wolf. Having created with conductor Stephen Simon several extremely popular family concert series at the Kennedy Center, including a Stories in Music series, we decided to create CDs that included not only stories narrated to great classical music, but also to include composer biographies, hints on what to listen for in the music, and the inclusion of a track in a different musical style to broaden listening horizons. Listening to the Maestro Classics series is perfect non-stress learning, with parents learning as much as the children, and also having the pleasure of listening to the London Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the greatest recording orchestras in the world. It is perfect entertainment for the car, too.

There are many more Maestro Classics titles for Narrator and Orchestra. They are all classic tales with classical music and they all contain important life lessons and morals. On our website there are free homeschool curriculum for each CD to help you integrate music into your curriculum. For a fun exploration, go to our website and click on the CDs on the homepage. You can watch videos and listen to music samples for all our CDs. I guarantee that they will make you smile!

Bonnie Ward Simon is the former executive director of the Washington Chamber Symphony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Together with her husband Stephen Simon, a prominent symphony conductor with over 25 years of experience, the husband-and-wife team are producing the Stories in Music CD series by Maestro Classics to help parents and children better understand and enjoy symphonic music at home.

To win a copy of Peter and The Wolf, simply leave a comment here telling me why you think music is important for your children!   If you'd like an additional entry,  tweet this giveaway or share it on Facebook!  This giveaway will be open until Friday, April 27th at midnight.  

Day 2: A Simple Way to Incorporate Music - SQUILT Notebooking Download  
Day 4:  Learning to Hear in a Noisy World - Exploring America's Musical Heritage DVD set giveaway
Day 5:  What About Piano Lessons?
Day 6:  Interest Led Music Study ~ Notebooking Download

The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. And of course,  visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network. You'll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivating curiosity, teaching with Legos, and much much more!


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Reader Comments (40)

We love Maestro Classics. Love. them.

I also love that you touched on how classical music is applicable to today's culture and music. The Abbey Road comparison is brilliant. I am blessed to have a child that requests classical music for her piano lessons as well as just for pleasurable listening. She can pick out a piece she has learned on a commercial or as a ring tone every time.

Fantastic series Mary!

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

I think its important for children to learn about music because its timeless and sparks things in their brain that helps them to excel in other areas. I am going to beginning the homeschooling journey in July and this will be a great addition.

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCassie

I think its important for children to learn about music because its timeless and sparks things in their brain that helps them to excel in other areas. I am going to beginning the homeschooling journey in July and this will be a great addition.

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCassie

I am learning some wonderful things, Mary. Thank you! I am touched by music, and I can tell that my kids are too because I often year them humming. I know that music exercises parts of their brain that they don't normally exercise with their regular studies. I can remember listening to Peter and the Wolf on a record player when I was a kid. What fun to share that with my kiddos!!

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

There is nothing more satisfying as a homeschool Mom for your five year old to say, "I know that song" when he hears a piece from Bach or Beethoven or Mozart. This recording sounds wonderful.

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhyllis

I have tried to win this before on a giveaway because it looks so amazing. Maybe this is my lucky day. :)

Great, wonderful resources Mary. I have so enjoyed reading all of your Music posts.

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

We are a music loving house. Classical, musicals, hymns, country and rock n roll! Music helps us memorize, teaches us theology, gives us a soundtrack for history and gives us a vehicle for expressing emotions. I would love to try these Maestro Classics - it looks like a great program.

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

When I was pregnant with my oldest, every time we sang hymns at church she would start to move and kick. She still LOVES music! I can see what an amazing impact music has on all of my children, and I would love to teach them to really hear what they are listening to.

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAbby

I have always loved music. I feel that it is an important expression of how we feel and think, a much so as words. There have been plenty of times that I have understood something in life better because of my knowledge of music.

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJs Momma

Music is like another language, and it's an important language to understand. :) I'm not a great music teacher, but I do offer lots of listening time, we go to the orchestra, and we read about the great composers. I'd love to win this; we adore Maestro Classics products! :)

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmi

We very much love music in our household - all types (all 5 of us have very eclectic tastes)... and my middle daughter loves Peter and the Wolf

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter~Kris

Music gives our children another way to express their creativity. Thanks so much for the chance to win:)

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristin Banda

We love music. Can't think of a better way to express worship to the creator. My oldest loves to sing and tinker on the piano and dance to the beat. We are looking at adding more music to our studies next year. You inspire me...

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterUnknown

My children love music and they love learning about music.

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristina

Music is an integral part of our children's education! It incorporated every other subject in some way and helps children socialize in critical ways. Music Matters!

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaniella Nowell

Music is a beautiful way to express yourself, to work out frustrations and above all my favorite way to worship God!! I love to teach my kids just a little of what I know through piano lessons and background of the composer or the time period. For me, it's the soundtrack to our lives!

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKim

I believe music really help children to create and imagine in a deeper level while they play.

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I would love to have this. With 4 children, this CD would make teaching music appreciation so much easier. We use a lot of audio in our learning. The children learn through songs, listen to audio dramas and books every day. We would love to add this collection to our curriculum.


I think music is important because God gave it to us. It's one of the most obvious ways to express our worship of Him to Him. Music also bridges cultural divides and can be used as a tool to draw people to the Lord. We're huge on music in our house!

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHydrangeas and Harmony

Music is so important to our family because it's the one thing that can turn the grumps into happiness. Every time we're in the car and the conversation takes a wrong turn somewhere, we can always count on music to soothe everyone, especially my children.

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrandy

I believe so much on the power of music. It truly is a universal language.

We love Maestro Classics, too, and I'd love to add this one to our collection!

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy @ Hope Is the Word

We too LOVE Maestro Classics! We jsut completed a study on W.A. Mozart and were fortunate to travel with my husband for a business trip to Salzburg, Austria. There, we toured Mozart's residence at the time of his birth. Why is music important? We believe that music is a gift the Lord gave man, so that man could worship God. We adore hearing musical selections of many gendres and we know that the ability to be musical is truly a gift from the Lord.

Kimberly Engle

April 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Music is one of those things that opens parts of your brain that other things can't access. Music can help with memory and lift your spirit. Not many things are able to help you like music can.

April 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteryabby

Music reaches people, especially children, when little else can. My little boy responds to music when words have little effect. And it is strange how classical music is by far the one style that he connects to the most. I'd love to add Peter and the Wolf to his "vocabulary." Thanks.

April 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

For me, music education takes on a different twist. My son w/Aspergers syndrome is finally starting to tolerate music after 2 1/2 years of silence, so to speak. I have to find ways to integrate music that he will enjoy and not shut out. This looks like a perfect opportunity! Thank you! :)

April 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

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