A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this DVD is designed for babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages letting children under 2 watch television or videos since this is a key period of growth and development. That said, having toy instruments (or real ones) on hand while watching this DVD can make it more fun, interactive, and educational. Also, the DVD's repetition, while an excellent way to reinforce learning for toddlers, will likely be yawn-inducing for older kids.
What's the story?
A mix of puppets, simple animation, and real-life videos, BABY EINSTEIN: MEET THE ORCHESTRA: FIRST INSTRUMENTS begins with segments on the brass, woodwind, string, and percussion sections of an orchestra (piano and guitar are also included). Cheerful cartoon animals -- from hippos to giraffes -- play the instruments on a stage. Then real-life kids play instruments in scenes that convey a sense of fun and confidence in experimenting with musical instruments. Cartoon characters reintroduce the various instruments on stage, followed by a montage of real-life symphony orchestras, marching bands, and other musical ensembles. When all instruments have been introduced, the cartoon animal orchestra launches into a performance of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." The DVD features the music of Beethoven, Brahms, Strauss, and other classical composers, and a puppet provides comic relief in regular appearances.
Is it any good?
Regardless of their future relationship with music, toddlers will no doubt enjoy learning about musical instruments from this DVD, which should delight almost anyone under 3. Adults and older kids will likely be bored by the constant repetition, but this element seems effective for introducing younger tots to the sound and look of trumpets, violins, and even bassoons.
Although the cartoon animals are stiffly animated and the classical music occasionally sounds, well, babyish, Meet the Orchestra is still a fun way to introduce tots to the world of music.
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