Looking for a no-holds-barred Maestro Classics review?
Do you need and want to know everything there is to know about this music curriculum before making the space in your homeschool budget and routine?
You’re in the right place!
As a homeschool mom myself, I know exactly what if feels like to be searching for “all the things” and hoping a review can finally answer my pressing questions.
Hitting that buy button is a commitment and I want to make sure I’m making the best decision for my kids!
Well, in This Maestro Classics Review You are Going to Find:
Why I started using Maestro Classics in my homeschool
What is Maestro Classics?
Exactly how the curriculum works
What we love about it
What we don’t love about it
What my kids think about it
Answers to frequently asked questions about Maestro Classics
Ways to know if Maestro Classics is a good fit for your homeschool
Where to Shop Maestro Classics + an exclusive coupon code!
But First…Is it Really That Important to Teach Music in My Homeschool? I Mean I Barely Even Remember My Elementary Music Lessons.
If that’s what you’re thinking in the back of your mind as you weigh Maestro Classics, I can totally relate!
I went to public school as a kid and all I can remember about music is being filed into a music room, singing “Frère Jacques,” and then being filed out to lunch. I don’t remember really learning anything – it was definitely just checking the box.
If that was your school experience too, then I can understand why you would be hesitant to sacrifice any money or time for music education. I also understand why you’re hesitant to try and teach music – because your knowledge is probably limited to what you enjoy listening to on the radio (that’s me too!).
But the truth is that homeschooling allows us to reach for excellence where other schools may fall short.
There is so much curriculum available today that will help you give your kid a richer and more in depth music education than you ever had!
You can give your child a solid understanding of instruments, composers, classic music, and modern music! I have loved to see my own kids grow in an appreciation and understanding of music that I had never even heard of at their ages.
And I am learning right alongside them!
Maestro Classics Review: Why I Started Using Maestro Classics in My Homeschool
I was actually using a different music curriculum in our homeschool, but I was always wondering in the back of my mind about Maestro Classics.
You see, a good friend of mine had mentioned Maestro Classics to me last summer and she was SO excited about it. She loves music and was flipping out over the high quality music choices, included workbook, and the depth of the lessons.
I had already lined up my curriculum for the year at that point, but I have to admit I was a bit curious….and jealous.
Maestro Classics sounded amazing.
So when the opportunity came up to write a Maestro Classics review, I jumped on it! I wanted to see behind the curtain of this curriculum and check it out for myself.
I have to tell you that I wasn’t disappointed. We are setting our other music curriculum to the side for the moment and already making plans to order our next CD!
What is Maestro Classics?
Maestro Classics is a classical music curriculum geared towards elementary and middle school students that is used in homeschools and classrooms across the world.
The company originally started in Washington, DC playing sold out performances for children at the Kennedy Center. The company then grew into providing CDs/MP3s of their work in order to broaden their audience and teach more children through music.
Most of the music in the curriculum is played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra – impressive!
Maestro Classics also developed a signature format, alternating music with talking, and explanations with musical adventures – which children love!
Exactly How Maestro Classics Works
1. Choose the Music You Want
Maestro Classics currently has 13 CDs with included workbooks to choose from:
Peter and the Wolf
Bach and the Pipe Organ
The Story of Swan Lake
Carnival of Animals
My Name is Handel
Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel
Merry Pranks of Master Till
The Tortoise and the Hare
Casey at Bat
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
The Soldier’s Tale
Juanita the Spanish Lobster
You can choose to buy the CDs/MP3s one at a time or purchase a 12 pack bundle for a lower price.
2. Choose Your Music Format
Once you know what music you want to purchase, you need to decide if you want the MP3 version with the downloadable workbook or the CD with printed workbook mailed to you.
This can be a tough call depending on the needs of your homeschool. If you’re unsure about what is right for you, check out the bottom of this review for some pros and cons you may not have thought of.
3. Start Planning Your Music Lesson
Once you have your music and workbook, you can start figuring out how you want to break the lessons apart to fit in your homeschool schedule.
I personally do music once a week in our homeschool and that works great for us.
Depending on the age, number of kids, and their interest level, you may be able to do music lessons multiple times a week or even daily.
Most of the tracks on my CD, Peter and the Wolf, were around 5-10 minutes long, so it was reasonable to listen to one track per lesson and have it correspond to a workbook page.
Your kids may want to listen to the entire CD in one sitting and that is fine. They may want to do multiple workbook pages too. Maestro Classics is completely customizable to your schedule and what your kids can handle.
4. Get the Workbook Out and Hit Play
Maestro Classics really makes it that simple.
Once you know what your plan is, the CD does the teaching for you! The music is interwoven with words to teach your children about the music, instruments, and the story. The included workbook also has some great reinforcement materials to read to your children and keep them engaged while the CD is playing.
Our “Peter and the Wolf” workbook included several puzzles related to the music, piano sheet music, words search, crossword puzzle, interesting facts about the composer, a bio of a current famous Russian trio, and explanation of Russian folk instruments.
What We Love About Maestro Classics
1. Great Sound Quality
Our previous music curriculum relied heavily on YouTube videos to showcase music, so Maestro Classics was a notable change in sound quality.
The CD was crystal clear and very enjoyable to listen to – definitely a step up.
2. Minimal to Zero Teacher Prep
This is almost essential for the busy homeschool mom.
We are already so busy with math, reading, writing, science, history, and other things that planning a music lesson might send us over the edge!
I love that Maestro Classics makes it possible to give my kids a high quality, fun music lesson with minimal prep from me.
3. No Musical Knowledge Required
As I said earlier, my music knowledge is limited to what I hear on the radio and the piano lessons I took in the 4th grade. When I sang in a choir in high school, I had to have extra help after class because I was basically tone deaf. The teacher didn’t say that, but it would have been an accurate summary of my vocal skills.
So, the idea of me teaching anybody else about music is almost laughable!
But Maestro Classics does make it possible for me to teach my kids about composers such as Bach, Handel, and Tchaikovsky.
I sit down and listen to the CDs with them and learn right along with them.
It is on an elementary level, so I can easily go through the workbook with them and quiz them with review questions.
4. Engaging, Story Telling Tracks + No Boring Stuff
Parts of the CD are almost like listening to an audio book. A speaker comes over the track and starts talking about the life of the composer and the music. I know that might sound mind numbingly boring, but Maestro Classics does a great job of sharing interesting facts that kids want to know
I actually parked my car in the garage on the way home from an errand, and we all stayed in the car to listen to the last few minutes of the track!
The Maestro Classics team just does such a wonderful job of choosing interesting information and presenting it in the right amount of time (That last part of “the right amount of time” is crucial to kids, as you know).
There is also not an emphasis on dates or any other boring things that kids don’t care about.
The story of the music and the composer is central and that is what kids will connect with.
5. Modern Music Highlights
I love that Maestro Classics included modern music and modern musicians within the curriculum.
On the Peter and Wolf CD, my kids were able to learn about a Russian folk trio and all of the unique instruments they play: the balalaika, the bayan, and the dorma.
I think this goes an extra step to really engage kids with music!
They loved hearing about the background of the trio, how hard the musicians had to work to learn their instruments, and how successful they are today. The CD included two tracks of their work, so my kids could actually hear this world traveling group in action!
6. Beautiful, Kid Friendly Illustrations
How a curriculum looks really does matter to kids.
My middle kid picked up a new curriculum book yesterday and wrinkled her nose, “Mom, why is there no color in this book?!”
I could tell she was a bit stressed by her new math book. I told her that it was my teacher’s manual and her workbook was full of color, so there was no reason to worry.
In contrast, when the first Maestro Classics CD showed up in the mail, I couldn’t get it away from my kids!
The beautiful illustrations captured their attention and they knew it was for them! They wanted to start listening to it right away before I even had a chance to crack the workbook!
7. Included Workbook
I believe the workbook is really the star of the curriculum.
In fact, when my friend first told me about Maestro Classics, it was the workbook that had her swooning.
Well, kids benefit greatly from having something visual and tactile while learning. When they are listening to the tracks, they can flip through the workbook, work on the puzzles, and still stay engaged with the music.
The workbook is also a great way to review the music with your kid and get the most out of what they heard.
8. Try Before You Buy
Who among us has not purchased a curriculum and been so excited to get started with it – only to find it was a dud?
* Hand Raised!*
It is so nice to skip around the Maestro Classics website and be able to flip through some pages of the included workbook and listen to parts of tracks BEFORE you purchase.
You know exactly what you’re getting before you start.
9. Free Extra Curriculum on the Website
I love, love, love that Maestro Classics took so much time and care to include a ton of extra freebies on their website!
When you click on their “Education” tab you will find instant download coloring sheets, puzzles, sheet music, and games that correspond to the music you chose.
You can also click on “Curriculum Guide” and get suggestions for adding your Maestro Classics music to your science, language arts, geography, art, and even math lessons!
This is so perfect for the unit study homeschool family!
What We Don’t Love About Maestro Classics
As with all my reviews, I want to talk to about what didn’t work for us with Maestro Classics. These issues didn’t turn out to be a big deal for us, but they might be deal breakers for other families, so I think it’s important to mention them.
1.Workbook was Smaller Than I Had Expected
I know I just sang the praises of the workbook, but I think it’s worth noting that it more of a booklet than a workbook. In fact, when the CD arrived in the mail, I was concerned that my workbook had accidentally been left out of the shipment.
It turns out that the workbook fits neatly into a pocket inside the CD case.
When I think of a workbook, I think of my kids’ math or handwriting workbooks – this is not that.
After getting over my initial disappointment, I began to realize that there was a lot of thought put into the 18 pages of this mini workbook. The homeschool mom in me wanted to see more, but my kids thought it was just right!
It was just the perfect size to keep them engaged and learning. A big hefty workbook would have probably made the lessons too intense and turned the curriculum into a chore.
2. No Teacher’s Manual
I know there are many homeschool moms who really enjoy the structure and security of having a teacher’s manual that tells you EXACTLY what to do.
Maestro Classics does not offer that.
You get the music and the workbook, but there is not a schedule telling you how many tracks to listen to every day, which workbook pages to complete, how long the lessons should be, or how long the curriculum will take to complete.
You just have to figure that out on your own.
Some homeschool moms will like that though – not being held to a schedule that doesn’t work for them or their kids.
I decided to just use my kids as a gauge, and that worked out pretty well. We listened to 1-2 tracks per lesson and did 1-2 workbook pages with it.
What My Kids Say about Maestro Classics
I could not be happier with how my kids have responded to Maestro Classics!
My middle child in particular is always asking if we can listen to the CD in the car. It has also been left on repeat in our house, so my kids are listening to it while they play (outside school hours!).
And I had to laugh when my daughter went running up to one of her instructors at an extracurricular lesson and breathlessly said, “Have you listened to Peter and the Wolf?”
Her 20-something-year-old instructor looked confused and looked at me quizzically, “Um, I don’t think I’ve heard that song yet.”
My daughter then launched into a “play by play” explanation of the story.
I quickly explained that it was 100 year old Russian classical music that had my daughter so excited.
Um, can we say proud homeschool mom moment!
Maestro Classics Review: Frequently Asked Questions
1. How am I supposed to get my kids to sit still and listen to Maestro Classics?
I completely understand your concern and hesitation.
Music curriculum should be approached the same way that you approach read aloud books – you need to find something for your kids to be doing with their hands while they listen!
Here are some of my favorite things to do to occupy my kids while they listen to music:
Provide blank paper and crayons for them to color what they think or feel while listening
Play music during meals or snack time
Listen to the CD in the car while we’re out running errands – your kids are literally strapped down!
Set out legos or other building blocks while playing the music
Use the puzzle pages in the workbook while you are listening to the tracks
2. How long do Maestro Classics lessons take?
As mentioned above, there is no teacher’s manual that dictates a schedule for you to follow, so lessons can be as long or as short as you like!
If you follow the 1-2 tracks and 1-2 workbook pages format, it should take you roughly 15 – 30 minutes to complete a lesson.
3. What ages is Maestro Classics for?
Maestro Classics is geared towards the preschool to middle school age range.
Each CD does have an age range you can check though.
It would also be wise to look into the story of the classic music before your purchase.
In our CD, Peter and the Wolf, the duck character is eaten alive by the wolf. At first, you think that he will be rescued (like in Little Red Riding Hood), but that’s not the case.
My kids were not bothered by this at all because they understand what a food chain is and how it works in nature. On the other hand, I can see some more sensitive children struggling with the story line.
4. Is it Better to Buy the CD or MP3 version of Maestro Classic
I actually really wrestled with this myself! Here are the pros can cons I came up with:
The CD is awesome because:
- I like having a physical product in my hand
- You can easily pop it in the CD player and put it on repeat
- It can travel in the car with you
- The printed workbook is beautiful
- You could possibly sell the CD as used curriculum when you’re done with it
Cons to the CD:
- Your kids can scratch it and lose it
- It’s more expensive than the MP3 download
- You have to wait for it to come in the mail
- Only one kid can fill out the workbook pages
- The workbook is consumable – meaning you cannot reuse the curriculum
The MP3 Download is awesome because:
- It can’t be scratched or “lost”
- You can have the curriculum today
- It has a cheaper price
- The downloadable workbook can be printed as many times as you need
- It’s not consumable – you can reuse the curriculum
Cons to the MP3 Download:
- People that are not as “techy” may not want the hassle of downloading the music and printing the workbook themselves
- You can’t sell it as used curriculum when you’re done with it
- It is more complicated to take the music in the car, or leave it playing on repeat when your kids want to hear it.
In a perfect world, I would love to see an option where Maestro Classics allows you to include a downloadable workbook with the purchase of a CD…but that’s not the case as I’m writing this.
So you have to choose.
I’m thinking we will probably buy the MP3 version for our next purchase because of the issue of not having enough workbooks for my 3 kids.
UPDATE: Since publishing this review, Maestro Classics reached out to me and said they will email you a PDF of the workbook if you buy the CD from their website. Problem solved!
Maestro Classics is Perfect for Your Homeschool If….
You are interested in high quality music education for your homeschool
You don’t know anything about music
You’re not comfortable teaching music
You are busy and don’t have time to lesson plan and piece it together yourself
You want to connect with your kids through music
You are interested in your kids learning about classical music and composers in a way that is exciting and interesting for all of you
You have preschool – middle school aged kids
Maestro Classics Isn’t For Your Homeschool If…
You feel really comfortable with your knowledge about music and would enjoy teaching it yourself
You have plenty of extra time to prepare music lessons yourself
You are not interested in your children learning about music and composers as part of their education
Your kids are all in high school
Where is the Best Place to Buy Maestro Classics?
There are several places you can shop Maestro Classics and get great deals!
Amazon sells individual CDs, the 12 pack bundle, and even some of the MP3 downloads. You might also get lucky and find a good deal on used Maestro Classics curriculum. As always, be very careful with the seller you choose and make sure the workbook is included.
Rainbow Resource is another trusted homeschool curriculum seller that carries Maestro Classics. They do not carry the 12 pack bundle, but they do have a handful of the individual CDs.
The Maestro Classics website, of course, has the the most options and the best guarantee of a high quality product. They run sales often and offer free shipping on all CDs, so it is definitely worth it to to check out their website.
Click HERE to check out the Maestro Classics website and see what deals they have today!
Recap Maestro Classics Review + Coupon Code!
Well, I warned you that this would be a comprehensive Maestro Classics review!
I hope I answered every imaginable question that you have and you feel confident making a decision about whether or not to include Maestro Classics in your homeschool this year!
This curriculum truly is a blessing to the busy homeschool mom who wants to enrich her homeschool!