Maestro Classics ~ Schoolhouse Review

I love classical music. And ballet. Theatre in general. I was raised in it. I went to a school for the arts and studied them when I was younger. Every year we had season tickets to the ballet, the opera…We attended The Nutcracker, every year for as long as I can recall. So I was so excited when I was introduced to Maestro Classics, on the Crew, last year (that review can be seen here). I was really, really excited to find out that I could review  Maestro Classics again this year,this time its The Nutcracker.  Since my daughter and I will be going to the ballet (its a tradition for us now too)  the timing of this one was excellent too!





According to Maestro Classics, it all began this way:



“I was sitting in the concert hall next to my young son Basil. He had been begging for the opportunity to hear his father conduct the Washington Chamber Symphony. Basil was patiently waiting for the concert to begin…until the moment his father walked onto the stage, baton in hand. Suddenly, with lightening speed, young Basil was on his feet, arms raised, and “Dad!” rang through the sold-out hall. Needless to say, he was rushed from the hall and missed a glorious concert. At that moment, I knew I had a mission: to find a way to bring quality age-appropriate concert experiences to children and their families.” – Bonnie Ward Simon

Often, through the years, I have felt that very same way. If only there was a way to share these treasures with our children!  Even the “kids theatre” in our area requires them to be at least 6 years old. So there is a lot that I would love to share but just cannot. Until now!  Stephen Simon does an amazing job of creating this simple version of The Nutcracker, only one hour long.  Add in Jim Weiss with his awesome and inspiring storytelling skills.  So much easier for those little ones to follow along with, and yet it is still such a rich and beautiful story. Usually there are things missing, parts of the story that are removed and sorely missed.  But not this time.  This one is a real winner!!




Did you know that 1892 was the year of the first performance of The Nutcracker, December 18, at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia? Did you know that just one dancer goes through 30 Pointe shoes during the run of The Nutcracker and that there are 4 People hand-tearing snow for the snow scene? I had no idea myself!




The music in this production is simply wonderful; the storytelling is so engaging, it keeps you leaning in, eager to hear more. Not too long but not missing anything from the original story either.  My daughter just loves this and she can sit through it again and again. Okay, maybe she doesn’t sit through it (she has dreams of being a sugar plum fairy!). Its fun to watch her spin and leap and twirl right along with the music!




One of the many things I love about Maestro Classics is the free curriculum guide they provide to go along with every program. These have so many great links for study as well as tons of great activities for every subject!  And this was such a blessing to my little ballerina in the making (my boys? not so much! lol)  But my daughter had a blast watching videos of exercises ballerinas do (and doing them along with the videos too). She has a rather nice pirouette too, if I may say so myself. ❤




As a family, we listened to this story and learned all about the history of ballet. The boy had a blast with the Exercise ABC Cards we made. These are of use, daily, in this house now too! My oldest did find the virtual visit to The Nutcracker Museum quite interesting as well. He has recently taken up woodcarving and really enjoys crafting of all sorts. Perhaps one day he can whittle us one of these.  This also included a great lesson on simple machines and levers to give my boys an idea as to how a nutcracker works. I know my younger so really gets into the mechanics of things. This is an amazing tool for any homeschool, I tell you. Something here for every one of my kiddos. I mean, my 6 month old, she loved the music!




We aren’t done with this one yet. Not by a long shot. There are still some awesome museums we want to visit (virtually) and lots of crafts we need to do. Since my oldest son is studying guitar and keyboard right now too, we plan on using the study they provide to learn lots more about the composer too. I tell you, there is just so much to do with this one. Its amazing. Its unthinkable. And as one who believes in the importance of cultivating a love of the arts in kids at an early age, this is such a blessing to my family!



Maestro Classics Review


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