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Most of us either fiddled or tootled as youngsters. Grammar school bands and orchestras sounded all the better for our efforts. Now, in this amazing book, author Genevieve Helsby explains how that happened (or was supposed to happen).

Under the direction of noted conductor Marin Alsop, musical instruments are described, their history explored, the complexity of their construction is illustrated and then the sounds are heard on the accompanying CD-ROM. They are heard alone, in groups, and finally in full orchestral glory. The book contains beautiful illustrations and captivating narrative and, together with the CD-ROM, makes a wonderful read aloud opportunity for youngsters of all ages. All the reader needs is a DVD player or laptop computer to present a wonderful program guaranteed to captivate the audience.

Each family of musical instruments--string, woodwind, brass, percussion, and keyboard--is explained through word, illustration, and sound. The reader and audience will learn what inspired the shape of stringed instruments or the construction of woodwind mouthpieces, and that the nose was once used to play the flute instead of the mouth. And who knew that paper bags, toy frogs, tin foil, metal trash cans, or trays of dishes have all been used in the percussion section? These are just some of the tidbits of information that add to the joy of reading this book, either to self or aloud.

Talented artists worked with the author to develop and design the book and the final product is a work of art. Don't miss this one.
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on March 13, 2008
This book/CD is REALLY AMAZING! I couldn't believe the information in this book and the accuracy. I teach music in a public school and ordered this for a unit I will be teaching on the orchestra. The interactive CD-ROM can be used with a projector so the entire class can view it.

The book is set up in sections: Introduction/Orchestra/Seating/Sound Waves; Strings; Woodwinds; Brass; Percussion; Keyboards; Voice; Electronic Instruments; Conductor; and even a Dictionary! An overview is given for each of the sections and each instrument has sound files on the CD-ROM. The photographs of each instrument are colorful, with the parts labeled. The descriptions include famous people who learned to play that instrument, how it is played, different genres where it is used; ranges of the instrument and it's relationship to the range of the entire orchestra.

This book not only includes orchestral instruments, but some folk instruments such as guitar (acoustic and electric) and mandolin. The Woodwind section includes 5 of the recorders, great bass, bass, tenor, alto, soprano, and sopranino! Awe shucks, they left out the little garklien!

I let children check out materials from my room and I want more copies of this book for them and one for myself!
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on August 17, 2014
this book is really nice, very clear and descriptive, lots of pictures. what's even better is the CD-rom, which allows you to see the instrument, hear it being played by itself, and also as a soloist in a variety of different eras of music. the piano one is especially cool--beethoven and john cage!

the CD-rom is a slightly antiquated, compared to some of the other available medias now. but, it's all in one place, allowing you to easily play samples of individual instruments, without having to search for appropriate youtube examples, etc. i use this in my music classroom all the time, with lots of different grade levels.
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on May 10, 2009
What a fun book!! I love reading it myself, not just to my 4 year old. He's been really into musical instruments, so this book helps him to learn about each one in a very simple way. The book is put together such way that you can either read just a short paragraph about each intstrument or keep on reading more in depth to an older child. I love the CD as well! It has great examples of how real instuments/orchestra sound. I was very surprised to hear the Ukrainian Nationaly Symphony on it (my uncle is the director)! Anyway, excellent book!
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on March 16, 2013
The first part introduces the various period/era of music history and styles, with a few life story of some of the famous composers. Very well done. The second part introduces the orchestral instruments. A few more illustrations would have helped clarify some finer points, for example, "the snares are at the bottom of the snare drums", but there is only pictures of the snare drum viewed from the top.

Young children would enjoy this book very much, even better with a music teacher present (or family member with some musical knowledge).

With CD and hardcover binding, this is a very good buy. Recommended.
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on July 25, 2014
Loved the pictures and the cd. Wonderful for my older preschool group to see the instruments. I do story time at the library and my group varies from week to week who comes. If the group is 4-6 year olds there is enough attention span to look through the instruments. But if it is more 2-3 year olds with mom's it leans more to only be able to handle only pictures and the briefest of story time. I am a volunteer x school teacher.
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on June 8, 2016
Recommended from son's music teach and he loves this book. Tons of instruments to learn about with a CD to hear what there sound like. Only downside is I wish the book would come up to date and have a digital download of the CD. Who has a CD player anymore?
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on February 20, 2012
I purchased this book to teach a group of 3-5 year olds for our co-op. The kids loved looking at the pictures and when I put the CD into the computer, they were enthralled. They each picked various instruments they wanted to look at and listen to. The other Moms were impressed too. Overall a great purchase!
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on January 19, 2012
My 8 year old grandson and I love learning the information in this book, then listening to music samples on the CD on our laptop. I think this is a very interesting book about musical instruments (and about sound), especially to my blind grandson and me.
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on June 8, 2009
When Marin Alsop was the Music Director of the Colorado Symphony, it was the first time for me that a conductor actually talked to the audience and explained what we were about to hear. She made the music come alive and does the same as "the guide" of Those Amazing Musical Instruments! Beautiful photos and illustrations, chatty and interesting text, and great organization make this book a joy to read. The accompanying CD has terrific excerpts that really make you see how each instrument is unique. Highly recommended!
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