As we began designing our kids’ education, we wanted to incorporate music as a key element in our kids’ lives. There are so many wonderful composers & pieces that it can be intimidating to know where to start! That’s why we’re sharing 15 pieces of the best classical music kids should know – including links to listen anywhere.
By listening to the best classical music, kids can benefit.
When kids listen to classical music, they increase their ability to concentrate.
In today’s fast technology world, kids are increasingly used to instant gratification and constant excitement. Kids are experiencing shorter and shorter attention spans and ability to focus for long periods of time. Sitting and listening to a beautiful song that lasts longer than 2 minutes helps develop concentration levels.
Related Post: 20 Kids Books About Music
Classical music can calm kids.
Studies have now proven what generations of lullaby-singing parents already know – music can calm kids. There is something to be said about the order, structure, and pure beauty of classical music. It can soothe emotions and calm minds.
Listening to classical music can improve general listening skills.
Listening to anything with a discerning ear helps develop listening and processing skills. Music is a great area to start teaching kids about quality listening skills.
As they’re listening, kids can pay attention to changes in mood, speed, volume, and instruments to help hold their attention and become an active listener.
Early interest in music increases the odds of participation in musical activities when kids are older.
Countless studies show the benefits of musical participation in students, including better grades, higher critical thinking skills, and increased work ethic & self-discipline.
In fact, studies show that, when creating music, our brains are more active than when doing any other school subject.
If we introduce classical music to kids when they’re young, they may develop a growing interest in music so they may become involved in musical activities when they’re older – and receive all the benefits that come along with arts participation.
Introduce the Best Classical Music Pieces for Kids in 10 minutes a day
That’s why we use Greatest Works Tour with our kids. It’s a music and art appreciation curriculum that needs no prep work and you can do it in 10 minutes a day!
Each day either listen to a song or look at a piece of art. We learn about the composer/artist, that time in history, some background on the song/artwork, and discuss some questions given to us.
The curriculum is 30 weeks and includes a teacher’s guide, student guide, and a student activity book. Our favorite part is the teacher’s guide is completely digital and has over 200 links to musical performances and artwork, so it can always be at your fingertips!
You can download a free sample lesson and learn more about Greatest Works Tour here. We’ve loved seeing our kids experience the greatest works in history!
Activities for Kids to Do While Listening to Classical Music
When listening to classical music, kids can dance, draw, or simply listen. Talk about the loud and quiet sounds (dynamics), the fast and slow beats (tempo), and what instruments you hear. What’s the mood of the piece? What emotions do you think the composer wants us to feel? What does this piece remind you of?
Each of these questions can help focus kids on what they’re hearing.
Related Post: 7 Favorite Homeschool Morning Time Resources
15 Pieces of the Best Classical Music Kids Should Know
Below is a list of great classical music pieces that everyone, including kids, should be familiar with. Each piece includes a link to a video performance of the song.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of great classical music pieces. We encourage you to explore more, or check out Greatest Works Tour for more amazing music!
Antonio Vivaldi | Four Seasons (Spring) (Length: 10:38)
J. S. Bach | Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (Length: 8:32)
Johannes Brahms | Hungarian Dance No. 5 (Length: 3:45)
George Frideric Handel | Messiah (Hallelujah Chorus) (Length: 4:22)
Joseph Haydn | Symphony No. 94 (“Surprise”), 2nd movement (Length: 6:44)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Allegro (Music starts at 0:34, 1st movement ends at 6:39)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Marriage of Figaro (Overture) (Length: 4:29)
Ludwig van Beethoven | Symphony No. 5 (1st movement ends at 8:25)
Georges Bizet | Carmen (Overture) (Length: 2:28)
Samuel Barber | Adagio for Strings (Length: 8:50)
Richard Wagner | Ride of the Valkyries (Length: 5:05)
Igor Stravinksy | Firebird (especially starting at 8:55. Total Length: 12:15)
George Gershwin | Rhapsody in Blue (Length: 17:02)
Pyotr Tchaikovsky | Nutcracker Suite (Entire Suite is an hour and a half long. The Overture starts at the beginning and goes until 3:19, The March starts at 7:18, and Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy starts at 1:22:00)