When I was in Grade 3 a student based string orchestra visited our school to play for us. Cue my interest in violin lessons and soon I was touring from school to school with very same string orchestra. I absolutely loved playing classical music as well as contemporary pieces alone or with the orchestra. Unfortunately once I went to high-school I dropped my lessons but I never stopped my love for classical music.
When I was contacted by The Secret Mountain, an innovative Canadian Publisher, to review a new title called ‘Listen to the Birds: An Introduction to Classical Music’ (ages 7-9) I gave a definite Yes! Although I do not have children in this age range I knew it was something I could enjoy for myself, and that the CD included would be a great way to introduce Keira to Classical music during playtime.
Written by Ana Gerhard and illustrated beautifully by Cecelia Varela, Listen to the Birds is an amazing discovery of the similarities between musical instruments and birds’ songs. Within the 64 pages of the book you will find descriptions of the bird evoked or mentioned in each composition as well as a brief explanation of the intent of the composer.
I have actually played several of the pieces myself in Orchestra on Violin and did not realise some of the background of the pieces. Vivaldi’s Spring was actually one of my favourite pieces to play and I was happy to find it included. The explanations written by Gerhard on each piece is not only concise but interesting and I think appropriate for the age range given of 7 and up. The book also features a glossary of musical terms, biographies of the composers as well as a listening guide for each song.
The accompanying CD is prefect for all ages and includes excerpts of 20 different recordings (with a total duration of 26 minutes) including Dance of the Little Swans by Tchaikovsky from Swan Lake, The Raven by Schubert and more. A printable PDF file of all the illustrations, explanatory notes, composer biographies and the glossary of musical terms are also included on the CD.
Listen to the Birds is a great book to give your child to start a dialogue about, and hopefully also a lifelong appreciation, for classical music. I think this set is also a must have for homeschooling families as a tool for teaching music.
Buy it: You can purchase this title direct through The Secret Mountain or through Amazon. List Price is 16.95 USD or 22.95 CDN. Also available in a digital download including printable PDF for 12.50 CDN.
Win it: One Canadian Frugal Mom Eh reader will win their own copy of “Listen to the Birds: An Introduction to Classical Music” Storybook & Music CD. Giveaway ends August 16th at 11:59 pm EST. See Giveaway Tools form for entry and full T&C.