10 Children’s Music Books recommended by Queensland Symphony Orchestra

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Noisy Orchestra by Sam Taplin

This interactive board book is the ideal introduction to orchestras for babies and toddlers. What chubby fingers can resist buttons that make music after all? Animals introduce sections and instruments of the orchestra, and at the end of the book, they all join in to play together. A simple, but comprehensive overview – perfect for the littlest musicians!

The ABC Animal Orchestra by Donald Saaf

Who doesn’t love a goat banging a gong, or an owl playing an oboe? This A-Z picture book pairs animals with instruments, and given you need 26 to complete the set, it becomes quite the cacophony! Aimed at inquisitive pre-schoolers, this book will expand their understanding of instruments beyond the kitchen pots and pans, whilst encouraging them to spot other words that begin with the feature letter.

The Very Noisy Bear by Nick Bland

Anyone who agonised over what instrument to learn will resonate with this charming tale.  Follow along with Bear as he tries out different instruments at the encouragement of his friends.  Short and sweet, and in rhyming form, this delightful book is an easy read and the perfect introduction to the joy (and noise) of music. It comes in both board book and picture book form, so can be enjoyed by wilful toddlers, and appreciated by preschoolers too.

The Walkabout Orchestra by Chloe Perarnau

61z1CtV7iML._SX423_BO1,204,203,200_Weary of Where’s Wally?  This is for you!  Modelled on the popular series, this engaging book encourages young readers to search for members of the orchestra in different locations around the world.  Readers are given a postcard from each destination, with the invitation to find a particular musician and their instrument.  It’s a fun and interactive way to discover the diversity of instruments that make up an orchestra, as well as learning more about the world too.

The Story Orchestra Series by Jessica Courtney-Tickle & Katy Flint

These books have nailed the format by providing audio accompaniment to the story, helping the music to come alive for young readers. Based on five well-known works – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals, Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping BeautySwan Lake, and The Nutcracker each page has a musical highlight that breathes life into the story. Children will love pressing the play buttons as they read the next part of the narrative. And never fear, the sound quality is high, so you won’t be tempted to ‘retire’ the book to the top shelf!

Once Upon a Rhythm by James Carter & Valerio Vidali

All children have an innate sense of rhythm, so they’ll be excited to learn more about this toe-tapping art form in this vibrantly illustrated book.  It charts the history of rhythm from the earliest days of tribal music, through to the bands and jazz clubs of today.  The rhyming verse captures a sense of rhythm that is a pure joy to read.  Grab your tambourines and tap along!

The Flying Orchestra by Clare McFadden

Written by a Brisbane author, this whimsical tale is a convincing introduction to the power that music has and the emotions it can evoke. A lonely traveller is accompanied by a melancholic cello, and a birthday party is celebrated by a joyful string quartet. So much of music appreciation is bound up in how it makes us feel, so it’s refreshing to find a children’s book that addresses this so creatively.  Locals will take great delight in spotting Brisbane landmarks throughout the whimsically illustrated pages.

This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt & R.G. Roth

‘This jazz man, he plays one, he plays rhythm with his thumb…’
 This book is a creative re-working of the familiar childhood tune, and an invitation to count to ten with some of the most influential African-American and Afro-Cuban jazz musicians. Young children will love the rhythmic language and fun sounds, while older children will enjoy reading about the musicians’ careers in their biographies at the back. A fun way to count and practice alliteration!

Orchestra by Avalon Nuovo & David Doran

Think of this like an illustrated encyclopedia for orchestras! Covering everything from the way instruments are made, the way sound is produced, the layout of an orchestra, instrument groups, and so much more. This comprehensive book has all the answers to questions your children haven’t thought of yet. There’s even a section on notable composers and the works that made them famous. We’d recommend this book for children already learning music, to help them understand how their instrument fits into the bigger picture. Accompanied by stunning illustrations, this is a delight for parents and children alike!

Thea Stilton and the Phantom of the Orchestra by Thea Stilton

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-07 at 5.51.55 PMA book for slightly older readers who may already ‘know everything’ and just want a good page turner! This engaging novel traces mysterious happenings during orchestra rehearsals for Romeo & Juliet. Follow the mice sisters as they try to track down the truth!





You Can’t Stop The Music – a message from Queensland Symphony Orchestra Chief Executive Craig Whitehead

As an Orchestra for Everyone, we are extremely disappointed we are unable to deliver concerts live right now to the people of Queensland, but we believe it’s more important than ever to share our music, to keep people connected. We understand the value of music, we recognise its healing power, and we know the joy that music brings. So in the coming weeks and months, the musicians of the QSO will bring you music in all sorts of forms online…. tomorrow, Thursday March 26 is the 73rd birthday of our incredible Queensland Symphony Orchestra! Happy Birthday!

Last week we launched the first of our Concert over the Fence videos. This first one features QSO Concertmaster Warwick Adeney and Section Principal Flute Alison Mitchell getting together over a fence to keep the music alive! A Concert over the Fence will be released every Friday on our social media platforms, so stay tuned for great music, shared over a fence each Friday! Watch here:

We will keep everyone across dates we are releasing new video and musician messages – so stay connected on social media (QSO’s Instagram, our Facebook and our Youtube as well as our website).

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