Symphony Shine Time

Music review by
Common Sense Media Editors, Common Sense Media
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A good intro to classical music for young kids.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this CD will work best in an educational context where listening is coupled with movement activities for young children.

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What's the story?

SYMPHONY SHINE TIME presents a sampling of the master composers and their classics in the context of learning about musical tempo and brass instrumentation. The album concept is strong and delivers best when it gives children the best for listening, such as The Great Gates of Kiev, Flight of the Bumblebee, The Swan, Pomp and Circumstance, Stars and Stripes Forever, and Hungarian Dance No. 5. The original songs don't have the same deep connection musically, with lackluster lyrics: \"Let your music shine from the inside out. Let yourself know the music that's about.\" Designed to be interactive, the CD is accompanied by liner note suggestions for movement activities.

Is it any good?

More might have been done with instrument identification. The trumpet, French horn, trombone, and tuba are introduced in track two, The Symphony, but not given enough play for young ears to distinguish. The next track, Meet the Brass, does better, with each instrument given its time to shine along with a description to help children visualize.The creators, Linda Sebenius and Lisa Cole, are veteran music educators and performers for children. They are joined by the Shine Singers. The album's polish comes from the rich musicality of the Canadian Brass.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the classics -- how many have you heard before? Also try to identify the different instruments and discuss whether they help set a particular mood.

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