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Welcome to the Symphony    by Carolyn Sloan & James Williamson order for
Welcome to the Symphony
by Carolyn Sloan
Order:  USA  Can
Workman, 2015 (2015)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's something intriguing and unusual. Welcome to the Symphony is an interactive picture book (with nineteen sound buttons on the right) that takes children to a concert hall where an orchestra plays Beethoven's stirring Symphony No. 5!

Young readers join three excited mice, dressed up for the occasion. After they take their seats, terms are explained (e.g. pitch and note, dynamics and tempo) and we can press a button to hear how tuning is done. Press another button to listen to the beginning of Beethoven's Fifth, followed by variations on the main theme.

Further buttons let us listen to the different sounds of a violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, French horn, trombone, and timpani. Other instruments (not played in this particular symphony) get a mention as well. The notions of a musical conversation, melody and harmony are introduced and pressing buttons yields examples.

Finally, we and the three mice get to listen to the end of the first movement - Bravo! At the back of this engaging volume is a brief bio of Beethoven and a discussion on Raising a Child to Love Classical Music.

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