Saturday, May 26, 2012


            Handel House is located on Brook Street in the heart of the very fashionable Mayfair section in central London. This lovely house - Handel’s home for nearly 30 years – was as fashionable then as it is today.  If you have a very rich great aunt taking you out in London, you should suggest visiting Handel House first and then going to high tea at Claridge’s,
one of London’s great old hotels, where you can sip tea, eat very small cucumber sandwiches and scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam for about $75 each!

            Actually, getting into Handel House is an adventure in itself as you must go down an alley, make a left turn through a small stone arch, take the cobblestone foot path and enter the museum’s main entrance from the back.  The ground floor is such valuable retail space that the museum lets it out and has restored all the rooms above. They have musical instruments, paintings, period furniture, and occasionally hold concerts there. 

They also have a very nice gift shop where “My Name Is Handel: The Story of Water Music” by Maestro Classics is now sold.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Second Edit - Middlesex outside of London

Leaving London after 2nd Editing Session - flags for the Queen's Jubilee, June 3, 2012 - 60 years on the throne!

The process for each Maestro Classics' CD has many, many steps. From the initial choice of a work to the creation of its narration and/or musical score to the final CD that arrives nicely shrink-wrapped there are countless steps. The Carnival of the Animals by Saint Saens is the next CD.

The recordings with the two fabulous American pianists, Wendy Chen and Donna Kwong, were made in London in March. We eagerly awaited the "First Edit" CDs from the  English engineers which finally arrived and then we set out to London to do "the Second Edit" where we made slight changes here and there.

 Now, back in NYC I am planning the recording session to record the Ogden Nash verses, About the Composer, and About the Music tracks for the CD in early June.

The music is FANTASTIC! Really brilliant playing. Can't wait for Yadu to hear it next week in Baltimore!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Importance of Music in Young Children's Lives - Talking at Midwest Homeschool Conference in Cincinnati, OH

Two boys listening to Casey at the Bat - they came back to hear it 3 times!

     I began my talk with a series of musical clips demonstrating how music can change your emotions, bring back memories, and expand your child's world. 

     Think about how quiet the world would be without music! 

     The Midwest Homeschool Conference in Cincinnati was GREAT! Hundreds of families were discovering Maestro Classics for the first time.

Friday, May 18, 2012

10 Easy Ways to Bring Music Into Your Child’s Life

Make music an integral part of every day!

Ask yourself each day if your child has sung, played, or listened to some music; if not, sing a lullaby or play a CD softly as you say "Good Night." 

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Sing to your child (your singing ability does NOT matter.)

2. Listen to any kind of music while playing with baby

3. Put a CD player in the kitchen or in the child’s room – and use it

4. Buy a music box. One of the best presents you can give a new baby is something that plays a classical melody – Brahms’ “Lullaby,” Strauss’ “Blue Danube,” or Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nacht Musik” are favorites.

5. Schedule a daily listening hour or even 10 minutes – each day. Play music, sing, put on a dancing puppet show around the crib, and as your child grows, dance with him or her around the room as you enjoy your favorite music.

6. As your child grows, buy simple percussion instruments at a music store and bang along to the music. Pots and pans are great rhythm makers too!

7. Watch videos with great music, such as The Nutcracker ballet and the French film The Red Balloon.

8. Listen to a wide range of music that you enjoy (CDs in the Maestro Classics Stories in Music™ series, the Classical Kids series, and child-oriented recordings by Raffi and Tom Chapin are great choices.)

9. Find age appropriate live music and take your child to family concerts at least twice a year.

10. Keep your child’s favorite CDs in the car and listen actively as you drive

Ask yourself if you are smiling more lately!


Monday, May 14, 2012 interview

Grandparents have a very special ability to share great music with their grandchildren.

Susan Adcox asked these questions for Here is the way Maestro Stephen Simon and I answered them:

Do grandparents have a special role to play in fostering a love of music in their grandchildren? If so, what is that special role and why are grandparents especially suited for it?

The great luxury that many grandparents have is time. Unlike a painting where you can look at it for two minutes and then move on, music travels through time. It is linear. You cannot take in a piece of music without actually taking the time to sit and listen to it. One of the beauties of classical music is that it forces you to slow down and listen, and that is something that almost all of our grandchildren need.

Are you still concerned about what Bonnie referred to in her interview with Samantha Brody as "the graying of the American audience"? If so, other than turning to Maestro Classics, how can we combat that?

Nothing pleases me more than to see young people in my audiences. Sometimes they come because a friend is in the orchestra; sometimes they come because they have heard a particular work on the program and would like to hear it live. We are all getting older, but perhaps it is important to just think about taking a young person to a concert occasionally rather than worrying about the average age of the rest of the audience.

A few other ideas are:
Find family concerts at your local symphony orchestra and take your grandchildren. It is a great grandparent activity and makes it special.

Offer to pay for music lessons if a child is interested.

Go to all of their music recitals and school concerts – this is great encouragement.

If you listen to classical music in the car or at home, don’t turn it off when the grandchildren arrive just because you fear they may not be interested. Grandparents are wrapped in memories of delicious treats, favorite stories, house smells – if you leave the music on, every time they hear classical music, they will think of you.

Do you think that the modern tendency to multi-task along with the presence of multiple stimuli at all times works against the enjoyment of music? (My perfect way to enjoy music is to totally block out everything else, but it occurs to me that that may not be the way that future generations enjoy it.)

Some people can only work with music on; some can do nothing except listen when music is playing. On the one hand, I think that it has something to do with the way your brain is wired. On the other hand, some music is very simple and does not demand undivided attention, and other music is so complex that many young people do not understand what they are listening to, so music can be a bit like a foreign language that you do not understand but like the sound of. One of the reasons that we have the conductor talk about the music on each of the Maestro Classics CDs is to help people understand what to listen for in the music with its patterns, structure, and complexities and thereby encourage active listening.

Another concern of mine is that in a culture where such a diversity of music is available at the click of a mouse, we're not going to have a shared musical culture in the future. What's your take on that?

Composers have always pulled from different musical styles. Brahms’ was inspired by Hungarian folk music in his “Hungarian Dances” and Tchaikovsky included the Polish dance form, the polonaise, in his ballets. When the world was smaller, and all music was live, composers borrowed from neighboring countries. As travel and recorded music have expanded our listening possibilities, the influences have become broader.

Just as museums have “Old Master” collections, they also have paintings by Picasso and David Hockney and exhibits of Japanese screens. Are they all part of a shared culture? If they are worth, seeing, perhaps it is not important. We view music in a similar way, you can enjoy many different genres. We espouse this on our Maestro Classics CDs where each has wonderful orchestral music performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, but also a track with music in a different musical genre (jazz, Dixieland, Russian folk, heavy metal, etc.).

Many, many grandparents have discovered Maestro Classics CDs for their grandchildren through our ads in the New Yorker magazine and then discover how much they enjoy them too.