Monday, July 20, 2009

Kids' Pick - Brainwashing

Kids' PicksYes, we freely admit it. We are bent on brainwashing our children. Subtly, of course. A little Narnia here, a little classical music there and we're well on the way towards having children who look, act, think and have preferences just like us. It's all part of the plan folks, it's all part of the plan. Yes. We're evil that way.

Behold our latest attempt:

Story of the Orchestra: Listen While You Learn About the Instruments, the Music and the Composers Who Wrote the Music! is a book that makes Jonathan very, very happy. See, I'm not a classical music fan myself but Jonathan really, really is. His mother was a music major in college, majoring in piano performance. (Coincidentally, my dad was a music major at the same college at the same time. Our parents had mutual friends but never met.) My mother-in-law passed her love of classical music on to her son. (My dad passed his love of the Beatles and other more offbeat things on to me.) Jonathan is a skilled musician now in his own right which is something I absolutely love about him! Therefore I have no real and/or solid objections to our own children being in tune with such things.

To quote Jonathan in regards to Story of the Orchestra: "This is the BEST children's book on the orchestra that I have ever seen!" (It's a Workman book so I really wasn't surprised but still.)

The book is divided into parts. Part I gives a personal overview of the various composers and Part II covers the orchestra instruments, piece by piece. The author of this book, Robert Levin, strives to make classical music as appealing to the modern young audience as he possibly can, utilizing cartoons, quips and quotes to draw the reader in. Furthermore, the book comes with a CD that offers snippets of the great works to familiarize the children with the various composers and their styles. Each page includes a note telling you which track to play on the CD to teach by ear as well. It also includes selections of music that highlight the individual instruments so that the reader can learn to identify the specific sounds made by each. It is very well done and Jonathan will tell you that the pieces of music that they selected are of good quality and did not pain his ear to hear them. (That's actually saying quite a lot!)

My son (aged 2 and one half years) didn't pick up on any of the cutesy things the book has to offer. No, instead I sat him down in front of the CD player with a copy of this book. He listened to the CD for over half an hour. He wanted me to "Play the oboe!" while he looked at the picture of said instrument. Then he wanted me to "play the harp!" and so on and so forth, with extra special attention given to the violin (his favorite instrument, apparently). I left the room and HE KEPT LISTENING, slowly turning the pages and noting the differences between the double bass and cello. Oh, I kid you not.

This book is awesome. Even I think it's great because it has managed to capture Bookworm1's attention and he truly enjoys it. I'm all for him enjoying the things that daddy enjoys.

If you are looking for a good way to introduce your children to the orchestra and classical music - do consider this book. It is a quality resource to have on hand. I would not be allowed to say such things on this website if they were not true. (Trust me. Jonathan would forbid it!)

And once again we've succeeded in a little brainwashing.

However, I would like to draw the line at opera. Seriously people. Doesn't it give you a HEADACHE?! Apparently daddy and Bookworm1 were out driving around town listening to opera together. Subsequently, I got into the car and changed the music. Bookworm1 shouted out from the backseat, "No! I want to listen to opwa!!!" That is just plain scary.


Stephanie said...

This looks great! My husband is a trained classical and jazz guitarist and I bet he would enjoy this with the girls!

Unknown said...

A good friend of mine was a voice major (and now teaches voice at a university). She invited me to some of her recitals when she was a doctoral student, and I have to agree about Opera. I just don't get it.

I don't know much about classical music, but I think that this book would be great for Amanda (who just started playing the trumpet this year) and Kyle.

Btw, I like the Beatles too. For whatever reason, they were my best friend in high school's favorite group, so we listened to them a lot.

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

This sounds great, Carrie! I would definitely benefit from it! :-)

Cindy said...

What a great book!

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

I love books that have music to go along with them. And it is GREAT when you (and the kids) are learning while enjoying a fun book. This sounds like a keeper!

Ronnica said...

I can appreciate classical music, though I haven't yet grown to love it. But I'd definitely draw the line at opera, too!

That's awesome that Bookworm1 was enthralled by this book!

Stacy said...

I fully admit to subtle brainwashing...only I prefer to call it parenting:) I love classical music but I also draw the line at opera. No matter how many times I have tried, it just doesn't take. I will definitely be checking out this book. We love lstening to Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf and this sounds like it would be a great addition.

Stephanie Kay said...

I had many in college who were music majors/ minors. My husband's grandmother was also classically trained singer (I don't remember the technical terms). She was offered the role of Disney's Cinderella (?) but turned it down because Disney wasn't well known at that time. Or so the family story goes.

Anyway. Looks like a great book!

morninglight mama said...

What a cool book-- and amazing things to hear come out of a 2 year old's mouth, huh? :)

Elisabeth said...

*makes note*

ibeeeg said...

Thanks for posting about this book. I always appreciate books that expose children to the different arts in a wonderful way as this book seems to do.

The following is what I used with my children many years ago. I plan on using them with "the babies" once they are a bit older.
Classical Kids
They are awesome. A story told of a specific artist. The story brings the child into the world of the artist while teaching the child a bit of the person along with listening to their music. They are fantastic.
A bit about Classical Kids can be found atThe Children's Group You can hear some samples.

tmu said...

very cool. i will be seeking this for #1 GDTR.

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