Learning about the orchestra with Monty the Maestro

There are so many benefits of children learning abut music and I think a lot of parents would say that they have ambitions of their children learning to play an instrument at some point in their childhood, if they want to. But for someone like me, who loves and appreciates all kinds of music but can’t play and really doesn’t have much of a clue about the different instruments, what they sound like and how they are played, I’m not sure how I would be able to help them make a choice of which on to take up.

Monty the Maestro and his Marvellous Magical Orchestra seeks to solve that problem, by introducing children playfully through stories, illustrations and musical accompaniment to all the different instruments in the orchestra. The books and audio books work together to show children what the instruments look like, how they are played and what they sound like individually and together.

Recently, Gabrielle, the creator of Monty the Maestro story books and audio books got in touch to ask if we would like to try out and review the first two books in the series. I’m always keen to introduce my children to new things that will expand their horizons,  so of course I said yes.

For Mabel and Greta, it was actually their first introduction to the orchestra at all, and after listening to the audio books, whilst turning the pages of the books and looking at the lovely illustrations, I turned to YouTube and found this video to show them what it was all about. They were captivated by watching the huge amount of instruments playing together, and having just read Monty the Maestro and Vanessa the Violin, they excitedly pointed out the conductor with his baton and the violin section. The books were a great ‘way in’ for all of us to start talking about classical music, orchestras and everything that surrounds them.

The bright and exciting illustrations and fun rhyming story really caught the imaginations of my two girls and made the orchestra something that is really accessible for them to start to appreciate, even at the young age of 5 and 3.

Up until that point I hadn’t really considered how I would cover music as a home educator, beyond singing nursery rhymes and listening to a wide range of music like we do at the moment and probably doing a regular composer study and encouraging them to learn an instrument once they got older. Starting to introduce them to the instruments of the orchestra is a great in between step that I hope will help them to understand how music is made and put together and give them a greater appreciation for the work of art that a score of music is.

You can find out more about this lovely series of books at http://www.montythemaestro.com/ where you can meet the characters in lovely audio instructions to each instrument, and buy the books, audio books on their own, or even the sheet music that accompanies each book! We were sent the first two titles for free so that we could do this review but I’m sure we will be purchasing the rest of the series as they are released as Mabel is already keen to find out what happens next to Monty and Vanessa!

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