I put The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Ages 6+ and families) from Maestro Classics in the CD player of our car and everyone was immediately quiet. That doesn’t happen very often. As they listened, it got pretty intense. The story I mean. After a little bit my eight-year-old piped up. (Spoiler Alert) “Oh, I know this story! It’s going to flood.” And it did. Boy did it ever. I didn’t know the story, but you could tell it was coming. We had so much fun listening to the story of the lazy apprentice on our way to AWANA!
I’ve been listening to audio books and classical music in the car with my children for years, and Maestro Classics combines the best of both — suspense, excitement, and learning at the same time. I’ve been hearing about Maestro Classics for years, and now that I’ve heard my first two — we also got My Name is Handel: The Story of Water Music (Ages 5+ and families) — I want them all!
With The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, we just popped the CD in the car player and listened. With this method, I found that the softest parts were very soft and the loudest parts were very loud (fortississimo). I found myself adjusting the volume constantly. With My Name is Handel, we copied the CD into iTunes® and used my iPhone®. My daughter found some setting in the Music app that allowed us to “level out” the volume so the soft wasn’t quite so soft and the loud wasn’t quite so loud. I highly recommend this method! If you are like me, you will have to give it to your teenager to figure out.
As a musician and music lover, I have to say these recordings are high quality (recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra) and a fabulous way for your children to be exposed to classical music and interpretation. The narrator himself is very dramatic and engaging and the stories are timed beautifully with the music and the repeating themes. I love the narrative lessons explaining the piece after the initial performance is over. My children were not quite as fond of this part as I was — but I love knowing that they are learning anyway. And since we have and will listen to the recordings over and over — the informational part they don’t really want to listen to will sink in anyway!
My Bottom Line: Maestro Classics CDs are fun for the whole family from baby to adult. I am not sure why they have “ages 6+ and families” or “ages 5+ and families.” as the age range. I was required to put that in my review, but I personally would listen to these CDs with my babies in the car and I certainly enjoyed it as an adult, even listening once when my kids were not in the car. They cost $16.98 for CDs or $9.98 per download. Each CD is roughly 40 minutes and includes a 24 page activity booklet (PDF), as well as games and activities to go along with what you hear and extend the learning. I recommend the whole set! Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel is next on my list.