Teaching Music Appreciation to Children

Here are some ideas of items that I have used to help introduce classical music to my girls.  Sure they hear plenty of “modern” music from their Dad, 🙂 and will eventually only listen to their ear-buds blasting the latest find from iTunes.  Hopefully though, I will have instilled in them a love for music that they can always come back to when they need to find some tranquility in this boisterous world.

Baby Einstein CDs

When my oldest daughter was an infant she used to SCREAM on long car rides.  That’s when I discovered the Baby Einstein CD’s. They are classical pieces that have been shortened and are played on a xylophone and other instruments.  Here is a place to preview their songs – it’s Amazon’s MP3 section for Baby Einstein.

I was never a real fan of the videos because a lot of them seemed like glorified toy commercials.  But the CD’s worked to settle her down in the car, which was what we desperately needed.  Thinking back now, I guess the music helped to settle us down too!

Disney’s Little Einsteins (TV/Movies)

As she grew a little bit older, we began to watch Disney’s Little Einsteins.  My friend Cydnee introduced them to me.  I loved the way that they taught simple elements of music – rhythm,  volume, and sound/pattern recognition, as well as teaching about art, music and composers.  My two year old has followed in her sister’s footsteps and asks for Little Einsteins every chance she can get.

Beethoven’s Wig (CDs)

As she grew older, I went to the library to see what I could find that would help to introduce Classical music in other ways.  One thing that we’ve loved has been the Beethoven’s Wig CD series.  Richard Perlmutter and his choir have made up silly lyrics to Classical pieces on the first half of the CD, and on the second, you can hear the music without the lyrics.

My girls LOVE it. They laugh and laugh and ask me to replay the songs repeatedly.  The link above will take you to the page on their site where you can listen to the full tracks of the first CD.

Here’s a youtube video from their concert (Sung to Beethoven’s 5th)-

Classical Kids (CDs)

There are some other CDs that we’ve enjoyed that I found, again at the library (I’m a fan! :)).  These were stories that introduced the music.  One was a CD about Mozart’s Opera, the Magic Flute, and another about Bach.  We enjoyed both of them immensely and then I found out that they were from the same producer.  Classical Kids is a group by Susan Hammond and she has a whole series of CDs to help introduce children to classical music.

From her website she states that the CD’s are – “A dramatic story, a little bit of history and the world’s best-loved classical music set the scene for fun-filled musical adventures the whole family will enjoy. It’s a symphony of stories for all ages, presenting the great composers – Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi and Handel — as heroes for today’s children.”

Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf  (Children’s Symphony)

Finally, I need to finish with Peter and the Wolf. It is a story written by Sergei Prokofiev during 1936.  He was commissioned to find a way to teach classical music to youth by writing a new musical symphony.  It has been recored a number of times and was made into a cartoon by Disney (which has a happier ending).  It wonderfully introduces instruments and musical themes to the listener.

I’m posting a youtube link to the David Bowie Narration of Peter and the Wolf from the May 1978 version released by RCA.  It is just the beginning of the story, but can be purchased on itunes or Amazon MP3 downloads.

I’m sure that there are many others ways to help teach music appreciation.  What have you done?


1 thought on “Teaching Music Appreciation to Children”

  1. Oh gracious! I am horrible derrilect in my classical music training compared to you. Ok, ok, we do let James watch Looney Toons, lots of classics there, but somehow I think I should be doing better? 🙂 One thing I will say is this, in regard to children’s music….if the Veggie Tales ever come to town, I am soooo introducing them to the Salad Shooter!

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