The Story of the Incredible Orchestra: A Pictorial Review

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

Title:  The Story of the Incredible Orchestra
Author:  Bruce Koscielniak
Pages:  33
Reading Level:  Child – Young Adult
Audience:  Music Students, Families
Stars:  ★★★★★

I have been looking for a good children’s resource about the orchestra, but after hunting around for a couple of years, the stuff I was coming up with just was’t that impressive.  Shallow.  Goofy.  Boring.

Then a friend recommended this title, and well…  search over.

The content of The Incrdible Story of the Orchestra focuses in two main topics:

    1. The origin of the modern orchestra and its development.
    2. The history of each instrument in the modern orchestra.

At the beginning of the book, the author takes us all the way back to the Middle Ages – an era before the symphony existed – to teach us about the medieval instruments and ensembles that set the stage for the symphony as we know it today.

After that, the author traces the histories of the main instrument families and gives a layman’s explanation of how each instrument works…  along with lots of illustrations!

All of this is sprinkled throughout a pleasant overview of the four prominent musical periods that have developed since the orchestra’s birth. He even takes the last few pages to introduce jazz and the modern use of synthetics…  all in good taste.

It’s great!

But the content isn’t just great… it’s appealing.  And that is key.  The material is well-organized and interesting, and every page has colorful illustrations.

Stylistically, the artwork is unique.  It looks like an unlikely combination of hand sketches and watercolor paintings.  It is a tad busy, but the colors are soft, which keeps it from being overwhelming.  (FYI: The colors in these pictures came out a bit brighter than the colors in the book.)

 

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com. #kids #orchestra #reading #stories#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #orchestra #reading #stories

 

Concerns

I didn’t have any concerns with this book – the information was accurate, and there was no inappropriate content.

Summary

Studio library, family library, personal library, music classroom…  Go ahead and get it!  It’s great for every occasion.

You can get your copy on amazon HERE.

#Review of The Story of the Incredible Orchestra | The #Music Blog, www.sfzmusicblog.com.  #kids #activities #orchestra #reading

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Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff: Biography Review

 

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

 

Title:  Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff
Author:  Opal Wheeler
Pages:  167
Reading Level:  Child – Young Adult
Audience:  Music Students, Music Teachers, Families
Stars:  ★★★★★

 

If I had to pick one work to describe this book, it would be adorable.  I love it!

First of all, it’s a fantastic overview of Schumann’s life.  Second of all, it’s just plain charming.  The book starts with the lad Robert and the many adventures he had with his faithful kitten, Ziff, at his heels.  The story continues through his musical career and into his happy life as a husband and father.  His family life – both as a boy and as a married man – was delightful, and this book highlights the sweetness of those relationships beautifully.

The illustrations are darling.  The biographies from Opal Wheeler’s Great Musicians Series are illustrated by various artists, but this one is my favorite.   They are black and white, but they’re very tastefully done – simple, sweet, and charming.  The work of this particular illustrator reminds me of old-fashioned Christmas Card artwork.  Love it.

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

And then there is the wonderful sheet music scattered throughout the book. Schumann wrote piles of music for his little ones, and thousands of boys and girls around the world have benefited from them.  Many of his pieces from Album for the Young are included, as well as snippets from his Sonata in G and others.

Even if no one in your house can play the music yet, try following along as you listen to recordings of the pieces. It’s a great way to acquaint yourself with the composer’s style and learn to recognize his compositions.

 

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

The writing style is interesting, quick-paced, and in story format, with a pleasant level of maturity.  It’s a great resource for little readers and would also be a fun family read aloud.

You can take advantage of the study guide (separate purchase) for the book, if you’d like to incorporate discussion points and quizzes into your group reading time.

 

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

Robert Schumann & Mascot Ziff | #Composer #Biography #Review on The Music Blog.  www.sfzMusicBlog.com  #music #schumann #composers #books #classicalmusic

 

Critiques & Cautions 

There are no inappropriate details in the book, but here are a few FYI cautions for parents to be aware of:

– Robert lies to a piano salesman in order to gain access to his pianos for a practice session.  It’s not portrayed as wrong – only as a little joke  p. 46
– Robert says that his music cannot be bound by rules.  p. 72
– Robert says that the fairies have blessed his little baby…  Which, of course, is absolutely ridiculous. p. 92

 

schumann.2In Summary  

This little biography is a fantastic overview of Schumann’s life and is definitely worth adding to your music library.

Music Teachers & Parents, it’s a great resource to spice up your student’s music history studies and would make great reading assignment for a composer of the month project!

You can buy it from Amazon HERE.

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