How to Teach Kids About Classical Music and Composers
Children love music. It's beneficial to expose them to many different types of music. There are many good resources to teach classical music appreciation to preschool and elementary age children. There are excellent classical music CDs, books and websites that expose children to famous classical composers and their works. If you homeschool you can use these resources to put together a classical music curriculum.
You can expose your kids to classical composers and their music for free or at a very low cost. Your local library may be a good source for books about classical composers and classical CDs. YouTube is another really good way to expose children to kid-friendly classical music. I'll point out some good works played by orchestras.
Classical Music Websites
Classicsforkids.com is a free website provided by Cincinnati Public Radio. The website includes games and information that teach about classical music and composers. The best feature of the website is the free podcasts that discuss the lives and works of several composers. Look in the On the Radio section for the podcasts. The website also has lesson plans and activity for teachers and homeschoolers.
Artsalive.ca has several downloadable PDFs with information on several composers. Click a composer and look under related information for the PDFs.
Makingmusicfun.net has information, worksheets, lesson plans and free sheet music for all the major classical composers.
Videos of Music Kids Will Love
Certain pieces of classical music are more entertaining to young children. The following are some classical pieces that children will love:
Books About Composers and Classical Music
Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers is a series of introductory books about the major composers aimed at elementary age children. Some composers covered are Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Bach, and Tchaikovsky.
Carnival of the Animals: Classical Music for Kids is a good introduction to classical music for preschool and early elementary age children. It is based on composer Camille Saint-Saëns' 14 work musical composition for children. The book includes information on how to listen for the animal sounds made by the instruments.
Story of the Orchestra: Listen While You Learn About the Instruments, the Music and the Composers Who Wrote the Music! provides snippets of famous classical works. It also teaches about the instruments that make up an orchestra.
Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev is a fun way to introduce kids to classical music. This is a musical story about a boy who outsmarts a wolf. The various characters are played by different instruments.
is a cartoon show designed to teach music appreciation. It is based on a fictionalized childhood of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The cartoon is a fun way to get preschool and elementary age kids interested in classical music. The show is available on many PBS stations or you can rent or buy DVD copies. Little Amadeus