Welcome to the Symphony

A Musical Exploration of the Orchestra Using Beethoven's Symphony No. 5

By Carolyn Sloan

Illustrated by James Williamson

Using one of the most famous works in classical music—Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony—here is the perfect way to introduce a young child to the world of classical music. This charming and interactive picture book with its panel of 19 sound buttons is like a ticket to a concert hall, taking readers on a journey from the exciting first moment when the musicians begin tuning up to the end of the first movement (attention newcomers: don’t clap yet!). At each step of the way, readers learn the basics of classical music and the orchestra: What is a conductor? What is a symphony? Who was Beethoven? The different aspects of music: melody, harmony, tempo, theme. And the families of instruments—strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion.

But the best part is that every critical idea is illustrated in gorgeous sound. The sound panel allows readers to hear the different parts of the symphony and voices of the music—the famous beginning of the Fifth, what a clarinet sounds like, the difference between a violin and a viola, what a melody is, and what harmony is. Kids will want to match their voices to the A note that tunes the orchestra, dance to the rhythmic passages—and, of course, sing along to da-da-da-daah!

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Meet the Authors
Carolyn Sloan headshot

Carolyn Sloan

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James Williamson headshot

James Williamson

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Review quotes
"An introduction to one of the greatest of all classical works that quite wondrously includes not just words and pictures, but some of the music itself. And to think that the musicians playing the excerpts are young people as well, members of the New York Youth Symphony! What could be more inspiring?"–Ted Libbey, author of The NPR Listener's Encyclopedia of Classical Music

- Ted Libbey

“This beautiful book appeals on so many levels...The charming illustrations and brilliant musical recordings provide the perfect sensory stimuli, while the text illuminates every question a child might have about the experience in the most natural and satisfying way.”
–Dorothy Lawson, artistic director, Ethel String Quartet

- Dorothy Lawson

“Lively, beautifully written…a charming way to educate the next generation of concert-goers.”
–Orin O’Brien, double bassist, The New York Philharmonic

- Orin O’Brien

"A delight for kids of any age! Educational, fun, a visual and aural treat, this book introduces children to the wonderful world of symphony music. With gorgeous illustrations, clear and straightforward descriptions of the instruments, and interactive buttons that play beautiful Beethoven, this will have your kids dragging you to the symphony! I simply adored it."
–Terry Kinney, director, actor, and co-founder of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

- Terry Kinney

 “An ideal way to introduce children to the magic of music—delightful, charming, wonderfully entertaining, beautifully illustrated.”
–Gerard Schwarz, music director, The All-Star Orchestra and music director laureate, Seattle Symphony


- Gerard Schwarz

“An ideal way to introduce children to the magic of music—delightful, charming, wonderfully entertaining, beautifully illustrated.” —Gerard Schwarz, Music Director, the All-Star Orchestra

"Welcome to the Symphony [lives] up to the publisher's promise that children will enjoy it . . . it passed the 4-year-old test with flying colors." — The Washington Post
Product Details
Age range
4 - 8
Number of pages
Publication date
October 27, 2015