Fifty Famous Composers for Kids of All Ages

Children - Educational
264 Pages
Reviewed on 11/06/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Carolyn Waters Broe is an American conductor, author, and professional violist. She has performed with many celebrities. Carolyn Broe is the Conductor and Artistic Director of the Four Seasons Orchestra of Scottsdale, Arizona. She is also the Principal Violist of the Scottsdale Philharmonic. She earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts at Arizona State University. Carolyn has written many successful grants in order to perform educational programs for both young and adult audiences. She has a passion for teaching music at all levels. Carolyn also loves to tell stories about the composers and share her love of classical music. She likes cats, books, games, and flowers.

Her inspiration for writing Fifty Famous Composers came from teaching music history classes at a Classiclally based grade school in Phoenix, Arizona. The students needed to write a composer book report and give a presentation in class. Carolyn saw that their list only included male composers. So, as an experiment, she added fifteen female composers to the list. Many of the little girls in the class chose female composers to do their reports. All of the children were inspired and gave amazing speeches about their composers. Carolyn Broe has also taught music appreciation classes at the college level and told stories about the composers at her many live concerts. The other musicians encouraged her to write these stories down and share them with other music lovers.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Daniel D Staats for Readers' Favorite

Dr. Carolyn Waters Broe is a conductor, composer, and violist. Carolyn brings her love for music and education to the fore in her book Fifty Famous Composers for Kids of All Ages. This book is a fantastic resource for those who love music. She discusses the better-known composers but also the lesser-known. One thing that sets this book apart is the information concerning female composers throughout history. For each composer presented, Carolyn gives much more than just a list of their more famous compositions. She includes information about their family and life. Sometimes we forget that great people had a life outside of just what they are known for. Carolyn presents the humanity of each composer. This is a wonderful reference work that is a joy to read.

Fifty Famous Composers for Kids of All Ages is an easy-to-read resource about classical composers. Take a journey through history by way of great composers. Go back to the 11th century and then travel all the way up to the 21st century. Dr. Carolyn Waters Broe will be your knowledgeable tour guide. She will thrill you with stories of not only the best-known composers but also some you may have never heard of before. Each composer is presented as someone you can relate to because they are not only giants of music, but they are also human beings. Carolyn wanted this book to be unique, so she included many female composers alongside the better-known male composers. In addition, Carolyn makes sure her reference book is up to date by including the amazing recent child prodigy, 16-year-old Alma Deutscher. Her story will inspire you.

Jamie Michele

In a comprehensive book detailing a sweeping history of music created by the best of composers as an educational guide for kids, Dr. Carolyn Waters Broe takes it all to task with Fifty Famous Composers for Kids of All Ages. This is not so much a book for children and more a book for parents who wish to introduce their little ones to one of the oldest art forms on the planet. The book begins with the medieval, renaissance, and baroque composers such as von Bingen and Vivaldi. Up next are classical composers that continue with the Bach progeny and Mozart, before transitioning to romantic and modern greats. The biographies of each composer and their influence are almost encyclopedic in their thorough delivery and include artwork and an appendix with some fun facts and quizzes.

Once on a particularly rainy drive home from school, the Flute Sonata in B minor was playing and I told the kids it was Bach. My son, still too young to really even say his name, started flapping his arms like a chicken shouting, “Bak! Bak! Bak!” The point? I seriously could have used Fifty Famous Composers for Kids of All Ages twenty years ago. But thankfully Dr. Broe gives her brilliant work to parents raising children right now, and even readers who are not parents but who are interested in a good introduction to composed music and those who created for themselves. I was most fascinated by the piece on the modern composer Copland, whose Appalachian Spring I walked down the aisle to at the half-past seventeen-minute mark, enraptured by the work but knowing nothing about Copland himself. I was lost in happy memories that transitioned into an afternoon of music. That wouldn't have been the way my day went were it not for Dr. Broe, and I am grateful to her for it. Very highly recommended.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Music has been around since the beginning of human history. Perhaps even longer since most living creatures (like birds) create music of their own. Music in education has experienced a rocky road as the powers that be continue to argue about the merits of music in education even though many of the classical theorists as far back as ancient times have promoted the merits and benefits of this. Without the continued support of teaching music and music history to young people, there is a definite lack of material directed toward the young, material that will instill in them a lifelong love and appreciation of music. This is where Carolyn Waters Broe’s book, Fifty Famous Composers for Kids of All Ages, fills the void. An intense look at composers all the way back to the Middle Ages, this musician/music teacher/author has provided a fascinating and student-oriented look at the history of western music.

From the first entry documenting the musical contributions of Hildegard von Bingen in the twelfth century to the twenty-first century and the musical contributions of Alma Deutscher, born in 2005, composer, pianist, violinist, and child prodigy, the figures in this book will inspire creative young minds. Each composer entry includes a short, interesting biography and illustrations. At the end of each composer bio, Carolyn Waters Broe provides a list that includes the title of a composition and a YouTube source to listen to it, a description of the genre, instrumentation of the example work provided, and some fun facts about the composer. For example, American composer Amy Beach "memorized and wrote down the songs of most of the North American birds for the National Audubon Society.” The end of the book includes a thorough bibliography, a musical timeline, a fun facts quiz on the composers covered in the book plus an answer key for the quiz, and a glossary of musical terms. Overall, Fifty Famous Composers for Kids of All Ages is a fascinating read for the young and the young at heart, as well as being an educational bonus to the teaching of music appreciation and history at the elementary school level.

Nicholus Schroeder

Fifty Famous Composers for Kids of All Ages is an educational book by Dr. Carolyn Waters Broe. The book, as the title suggests, contains the bios and other details for each composer. The journey of each composer to their critical acclaim is presented in an easy-to-digest format. A detailed portrait of the composer is also present, and overall it’s a really good presentation. Twenty-five males and females form the list of composers.

Fifty Famous Composers for Kids of All Ages was very educational and fun to read for me. I’ve always wanted to learn more about Beethoven, Mozart, and other early composers but Googling each one would’ve been quite a chore. Thanks to this book, I didn’t have to do that as each composer had a description, portrait, notable achievements, a bio, and fun facts. Dr. Carolyn Waters Broe has all the essential information condensed into one book. The formatting was also great and by far the most attractive I’ve ever seen. The portraits were also amazing and crystal clear.

The addition of fun facts for each composer was another huge positive for me, making this a fun book to read. Speaking of fun, there’s also a neat short quiz section that is sure to put your memory to the test. All in all, this book is how all educational books should be. Such books should be concise and interesting to read. Therefore, I recommend that fellow musicians and music lovers definitely give this one a shot. If you or your kids want to learn more about the musical greats, you can’t go wrong with this book.

Irene Valentine

Dr. Carolyn Waters Broe’s love of music began when she was introduced to Johann Sebastian Bach’s biography at the age of eight. “Learning about his life and music motivated me to pursue a lifetime performing music, teaching, and my love of music history.” During her graduate studies, she was surprised to learn of more than 6000 female composers, as women had been omitted from music history. Dr. Carolyn’s Fifty Famous Composers for Kids of All Ages begins with Medieval composer Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) and continues through the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras. Alma Deutscher, the last composer featured, born in England in 2005, wrote her first violin concerto by the age of nine. Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799), a classical composer, was also a champion fencer, beating the best swordsmen by the age of fifteen. Some of these aspirant musicians faced opposition. For others, music was the central theme of their family lives.

These fascinating stories will engage and intrigue every reader. Dr. Carolyn Waters Broe’s brief biographical reviews are easily digested in one reading, providing insight into each life and the context of that time. Useful references, YouTube links, and Fun Facts follow each chapter to facilitate discussion and further research. Broe has provided an inspirational collection with full-color portraits in Fifty Famous Composers for Kids. Her useful prologue includes a brief history and the cultural context of Western music. Carolyn is a celebrated conductor, composer, recording artist, and private music teacher. In line with her teaching passion, she has included a Fun Facts Quiz, a Musical Timeline with major events and dates, and an extensive Bibliography. I so enjoyed reading this book. Thank you, Carolyn. I echo your hope "that this book brings a lifelong love of music to my readers."


Dr. Broe's new book is a gift to music lovers at all levels. Her selection of 50 composers, some well known, and others that have always been neglected, is genius in itself. The format keeps you interested and eager to discover the next musical nugget . The text is clear and concise, imparting so much information in short, easy to read chapters. This book is a must have!


Even though this book was written for children, I think even adults can enjoy this book. Most people are familiar with the very famous composers, but there were many other classical composers that don't get the same attention. This book is comprehensive, well-written, and well done.

Suzanne M. Campbell

This book is SO well written! The author is so knowledgeable about composers and music history. This book is a must for anyone that wants to learn about these composers, especially children.

Lisa Waters

Dr.Broe’s compendium is nothing short of inspirational!!! Stories relating the lives of great composers of all ages, genders and ethnicities will amaze, inform and be emblazoned in your memory. Written by a consummate professor of music, this work teaches the reader about music history while giving ever entertaining fun facts which make this work a transformational page-turner and an indispensable part of any library or classroom!