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Build A Classical Music Library For Children

Updated on March 20, 2015

Classical Music - Start Your Music Collection and Share A Love Of Music With Your Children

Top ten picks by Harmony Art Mom (creator of Harmony Fine Arts homeschooling curriculum). Many times I am asked what would be my picks for the beginning classical music listener to have in their home library. I have gone through my collection and picked ten well-known composers that write music that would appeal to children and gathered them all here in this lens.

Many of the choices listed here can be purchased to have in CD format or they can be downloaded in MP3 format for you personal listening device or for your computer. I like to purchase the CD and then have the flexibility to load it onto my computer and then to my MP3 player as well.

Renaissance Instruments
Renaissance Instruments

How Did I Pick These Composers?

And How To Listen With Children

You will find many lists and books of lists trying to help you get started building a classical music CD collection. It can be very confusing! Over the last ten years I have read many of those lists and books and come to the conclusion that it really doesn't matter much which composers or which order you get started with but rather that you just get started. Taking the first step with the first composer will be enough to encourage you to try another composer and get to know them as well.

One composer at a time, listen to the music and begin to train your ear to appreciate the sound and the style of each one. Repetition is the key to training your ear and to start a love for classical music.

There is no right or wrong way to listen. I choose to listen on my computer which is not the best sound quality but it is very enjoyable. I also like to listen to CDs when I am in the car driving around town and on longer road trips. You can load the music on your iPod or MP3 player and listen when you take walks or when you exercise. Slip a few of your favorite pieces in with your regular playlists and soon you will be anticipating these songs as they come up to play.

Do You Need Children's Versions of the CDs?

No....listen to real recordings with great artists.

I don't like a lot of gimmicks when listening to classical composers. The music all by itself will be enough to get you started. You can tell your children the composer's name and a little bit about the composer if you wish but the important part of all is the listening to the music as often as possible.

The CDs listed on this page are ones that you can listen to with young children and still enjoy as adults. You will be listening to theses CDs for a long time to come and are wonderful choices for a beginning classical music library.

Mozart Portrait
Mozart Portrait

What Are Your Goals While Listening to Classical Music?

How Can You Help Your Children?

Your goal is to offer the music on a regular basis, tell a little about the composer that you think the children might be interested in, and then listen together. This is a perfect opportunity to work on narration skills with your children. After you listen to a piece, ask them what they thought of it. If your children need help getting started you can ask them basic questions like these:

1. Was it loud or soft?

2. Was it fast or slow?

3. Could they hear any particular musical instruments? (piano and violins are easy to hear usually)

4. Did the music remind them of something? Did any pictures come to mind?

5. What emotions did it bring up into their hearts? (Happy, sad, angry, etc)

"Music appreciation is different from playing an instrument in the same way that being a natural actor is different from enjoying a Shakespeare play, or being able to paint is different from enjoying a painted picture. I think that all children, not just the musically inclined ones, should learn to appreciate music."

Charlotte Mason

Joseph Haydn - Papa Haydn

Best of Haydn
Best of Haydn

The selections included with the CD include most of our family's favorite Haydn pieces. Don't miss the Surprise Symphony!


Amadeus Mozart - Two Disk Set!

Essential Mozart
Essential Mozart

This is a wonderful sampling of Mozart's music and will give your family lots of enjoyable listening for many years. Of course this will only get you started...some of the best conductors and performers throughout this CD set.


Ludwig von Beethoven

Greatest Hits Beethoven
Greatest Hits Beethoven

To finish off the big three composers, I have included this collection of Beethoven's best loved works. You will recognize many of the melodies in these popular choices.


Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach: Greatest Hits
Bach: Greatest Hits

It is so hard to pick just one CD for Bach but this really is the one that I have on my shelf that gets played the most...okay I admit we listen to the Fugue tracks more than anything else but it is an excellent compilation for beginners. It will leave you wanting to listen to more Bach.


Sergei Rachmaninoff - Modern Era

Rachmaninoff: Greatest Hits
Rachmaninoff: Greatest Hits

This is a refreshing, uplifting collection of Rachmaninoff. Great introduction to music from the Modern Era. The Cello Sonata played by Yo-Yo Ma is heavenly.


Favorite Classical Composer


Do you have a favorite classical music composer?

See results

Peter Tchaikovsky - 2 Disk Set

Essential Tchaikovsky (2 CD)
Essential Tchaikovsky (2 CD)

You will enjoy hearing all your favorite Tchaikovsky pieces including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, and so much more.


Antonio Vivaldi - It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This!

Best of Vivaldi
Best of Vivaldi

You will find yourself listening to this CD over and over again. There is so much music to love!


Frederic Chopin - Piano At Its Best

Essential Chopin
Essential Chopin

Lovely, lovely collection of Chopin pieces. This CD set is a wonderful example of music during the Romantic Period.


Robert Schumann - 2 Disk Set - Also Available As MP3 Downloads

Schumann: The Complete Piano Trios / Piano Quartet, Op. 47 / Piano Quintet, Op. 44
Schumann: The Complete Piano Trios / Piano Quartet, Op. 47 / Piano Quintet, Op. 44

I love this set because it gives you a complete look at his piano works. Brilliant sounds and wonderful music to listen to all day long.


Anton Dvorak

Dvorak : Best Of Dvorak (The)
Dvorak : Best Of Dvorak (The)

I love the quality and the selection of music on this CD and it will give you a taste of another composer you will want to get to know better.

Harmony Fine Arts
Harmony Fine Arts

Looking For Classical Music Plans?

Check Out My Harmony Fine Arts Plans

If you are looking for plans for art and music appreciation, you may be interested in looking at my Harmony Fine Arts plans.

The idea behind this program came from my own home schooling experience. I was always searching for a plan for picture study and composer study. It seemed simple enough to do myself but I just never did it. I also wanted to use the classical style and Charlotte Mason's ideas for our art and music. I wanted all the great resources organized in the four-year cycle of history. I wanted it to be flexible and easy to use. I never found what I was searching for so I decided to do it myself!

This is the art and music appreciation program for busy people. We have done all the research and organizing. You are able to open our plan and offer a great program for your children.

I would love to hear your comments!

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    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

      5 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Thanks for these suggestions. I agree with you that we should expose young minds to the finer things in life, like classical music.

    • Tricia Deed profile image

      Tricia Deed 

      5 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      Music is a universal language and learning the classics are critical for both lovers and non-lovers of music. The classics set the foundation of music appreciation for life. Many gifts of talents can be learned while these music pieces are being played during pregnancy. Scientific research supports this theory. And mothers who have done this type of pregnancy education have seen the results. Listen to the classics, they are great.

    • Gabriel360 profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens! Good job!

    • TheArtLibrarian profile image


      7 years ago

      Great introduction -- thanks!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I had a hard time to decide between JSBach and Vivaldi. I play violin myself( my children learning too), always wanted to learn it, it is my favorite instrument( beside the viola da amore,that I would love to learn..). Classical music is my favorite music.I grew up w/ it, my mom always had it playing on the radio.Thanks for putting this on, classical music is so important. Blessings Friederike

    • thecrabbynook profile image


      7 years ago

      My granddaughters and I make music a big part of our get togethers. I love the idea that you have a kit available with everything we need!

    • angielichtenstein profile image


      7 years ago

      I played classical music to my son all the time when he was born. Now he loves playing musical instruments and conducting the orchestra on our Wii system. It's really great to watch! Hopefully it will give him a life long love for classical and all types of music. Great lens!

    • kdlovett profile image


      7 years ago

      Love this! I love to use music in the classroom. Thanks for sharing.

    • bolsen19 profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a great resource. Thank you for putting so much time and providing it for us.

    • sponias lm profile image

      sponias lm 

      7 years ago

      This lens is excellent!

    • DeannaDiaz profile image


      7 years ago

      Very informative site!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Neat and effective storage solutions for classical music. Thanks.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Everyone needs some classical influence in their lives. Even though I'm not a huge fan of classical music, I think anyone who has had a basic education is familiar with the sound and is influenced in some way by it. Nice lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a great idea! Hopefully I will have kids and can teach them to learn to love classical music like I do!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love classical music...

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      A super lens for getting started with classical music. Blessed today :)

    • wolley811 profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow, I love your lens! My son loves the classical music he hears on videos like Baby Einstein and Little Einstein, but I'd love to build up an actual collection for him!

    • Jolyne LM profile image

      Jolyne LM 

      8 years ago

      When I was expecting, my aunt gave me some classical music for the baby and I listened to it every night, later when my daughter was born I would play it and it seemed to calm her :)

    • CathyLou LM profile image

      CathyLou LM 

      8 years ago

      I really like this lens! It is never too early or too late to learn to appreciate classical music.

    • CathyLou LM profile image

      CathyLou LM 

      8 years ago

      I really like this lens! It is never too early or too late to learn to appreciate classical music.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice lens and great info. Classical music is always good.

    • Violin-Student profile image


      8 years ago

      Good information here. It's amazing how much good classical music can do for kids. You mentioned that it is not necessary for kids to hear the "children's versions" of music. I think that's the case, but I also see value in the Beethoven's Wig types of albums. Then they remember where the theme is from. I got my start listening to classical music listening to Merrie Melodies's Rhapsodie in Rivets, Pigs in a Polka, Bugs Bunny's opera cartoons ("Kill da Wabbit", Rabbit of Seville, etc) and the like. Great music on funny, funny cartoons.

      Liked and Lensrolled to

      Fiddlesticks--A Home For Violins, Fiddles, Violinists and Fiddlers

      I Play Cello

      Suzuki Violin: Learn to Play by Listening?

      Funny Viola Jokes -- Or is That Redundant?

      and several other lenses.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your insight. It is very useful.

    • Northbright profile image

      Norbert Isles 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      Excellent Lens! Though my kids were exposed to all day classical programming when they were young, what your lens shares would have been a great help then.

    • Lemming13 profile image


      8 years ago

      Brilliant. A super resource for home schoolers and anyone else who wants to get their kids into the classics.

    • PiccadillyPunkin profile image


      8 years ago

      Fantastic lens! I'm going to check out some of the books you recommend. Love your tips on here!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great material. It's hard getting kids interested in classical music--I'm working on my grandchildren now!

    • BrickHouseFabrics profile image


      8 years ago

      Thankyou for the lens!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens! Blessed by an angel :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love Classical Music. This is a good start for a classical music library. I've lensrolled it to my string quartets lens and favorited it. I love the Beethoven's Wig CD's as well. Getting kids to listen to Classical Music isn't that hard if you start when they are young and instill a love of fine melody and harmony. When I was growing up Classical Music was sometimes played behind cartoons. That was a great introduction as well. Thanks for this page!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting lens - thanks for this.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My kids have enjoyed the silly Beethoven's Wig CD's, which have also helped them to identify composers in a few cases. I love hearing them whistle or sing classical music, and it surprises other people, because it's not typically what you hear from kids. :) Thanks for all the recommendations!

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Quick 

      8 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      It's so wonderful to be able to identify composers when you hear music. Even at Hong Kong Disney, my daughter referred to Tchaikovsky when she heard sections from The Nutcracker. I was so pleased!


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