No More Beethoven, Mom!

Music is a pretty big deal at my house. I love music–all kinds–and I want my kids to love it too. Being a classically minded person means I want to stuff their brains with good classical music before they go out and discover that there is also music that they can drive me crazy with.

I have yet to figure out how to motivate my kids to sit down and listen to an entire Beethoven symphony. Instead, I’ve spent my time looking for resources that seem to be a little more kid-friendly. Here are a few of my favorites.

I Can’t Tell a Flute from a French Horn

These are my favorites for just getting into classical music.

Peter and the Wolf This composition tells the story of young Peter, who disobeys his grandfather and goes off to hunt a wolf, while introducing different instruments of the orchestra. (*FREE*)

Tubby the Tuba Several short adventures about Tubby, a tuba who wants to do more than oom-pah in the orchestra. (Several recordings are available to buy or you can borrow from your library. I like this one.)

Beethoven’s Wig (Vols 1-5) What could be better than silly songs set to snippets of famous classical melodies. These are impossible to resist. (You can hear samples at Amazon here.)

Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens This composition highlights different sounds of the orchestra while imitating various animal. You can listen to samples here. Ogden Nash wrote a series of poems to go with each musical selection. You can get the poems here. (John Lithgow recently also wrote a story to go along with it for the New York City Ballet.)

Classics for Kids This weekly five-minute podcast from radio station WGUC in Cincinnati focuses on one composer a month and covers a range of musical topics. If you’re particularly adventurous, you can download all the previous podcasts to listen at your convenience. (*FREE*)

I Need Structure–I Want to Focus on a Composer

I need structure too! But the idea of figuring out a good sampling to teach any composer was overwhelming. That’s why I was giddy when I found Amazons “99 Most Essential” series. For a killer price (often between $2.99 and $6.99), I can download 99 mp3s for a specific composer or a specific style of music. They’ve done the hard work of compiling some of the “best” works, and even my tightwad ways can handle the price. ($0.03 to $0.07 per song!)

I also print out the composer’s picture and put it on our fridge. I check out one or two picture-book biographies of the composer. And we listen to the composer’s music in the morning during breakfast.

I Just Want to Slip Classical Music in Under the Radar

For a more subtle approach, I love the old Tale Spinner records. You can listen to or download all of them here. Each story is fully dramatized with classical music playing in the background. Good storytelling and good music–what an awesome combination! (*FREE*)

Do you have a favorite resource for inspiring a love of classical music? Drop me a line. I’d love to hear about it!


Filed under Resources and Reviews

2 responses to “No More Beethoven, Mom!

  1. Julie

    Great ideas, Tori! Can’t wait to check some of these out. Merah loved the book: Lives of the Musicians: Good Times, Bad Times (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull. It just does a 1 pg bio on all the famous composers. Growing up, my Dad just played his favorite classical music almost every Sunday. He wouldn’t make us listen, it was just on in the background, but he would frequently hush us at his favorite parts. Seeing his love for it definitely got my attention!

    • taperkey

      Oooh, that one sounds good. I think we’ve checked it out before, but I think I’ll get it again. You can never recycle those type of books through the house too many times.

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