Classical Music My Preschoolers Love

Bernstein Favorites: Children's ClassicsYesterday as I was driving Ian home from his music lesson, he requested the same music we’d listened to on the way over.  It made me smile that he enjoyed it so much, and it got me thinking about some of the classical music that has really “clicked” with him over the last year or two.  So I thought I’d share some of our favorites.

When Ian was two, I decided to start being intentional about providing him with classical music to listen to and enjoy.  The first thing I thought of was Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.  There are many different recordings available, but I chose the one from the CD Bernstein’s Favorites: Children’s Classics because it also contained some other pieces I liked.  To introduce the story I read it to him from a couple different books.  I bought the first one because it was a nice stand-alone story even without referencing the music.  Then I ran across another version at the library bookstore and figured it was worth 50 cents for another one that talked a little about the instruments that play the themes for each character.  (It’s an older copy and I couldn’t find it on Amazon, but it’s similar in idea to this one, which comes with a CD.)  Ian also loved the old Disney video of the story.  (I saw a number of VHS copies on Amazon, but as far as DVD, I could only find it on Make Mine Music, a collection of different musical vignettes).  Ian was enchanted by this story right from the start, and it continues to be one of his favorite things to listen to in the car.  (His enthusiasm is contagious, because now Elijah is really getting into it as well.)

The second piece I thought Ian would like was the Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens.  This one took a little longer to grow on him, but we’ve listened to it a lot, and there are certain parts he really likes (the “Royal March of the Lion” and the “Fossils” are his favorites).  We have two recordings of this.  It is also on the Bernstein’s Favorites: Children’s Classics I mentioned above.  In this recording, Bernstein provides some explanation for the music that goes with each animal, which can be helpful at first, but I find it a little tiresome after a while.  I prefer listening to the straight music on the CD that came with a book that helps kids know what they’re listening to with each piece.  The book is better for older children, but I just summarize the information for Ian, and he loves looking at the pictures.

Hansel & Gretel/ Alice in WonderlandThe latest addition to our children’s classical library was Hansel and Gretel.  I wanted to introduce Ian to the music from Humperdinck’s opera without overwhelming him with the entire thing.  I was hoping to find a CD version of the Disney vinyl record I listened to growing up, but it doesn’t seem to exist.  So then I searched for something with just highlights in English, preferrably with some narration.  The only album I found that met those criteria was this one that also included a telling of Alice in Wonderland set to music.  (However, Ian’s been so thrilled with Hansel and Gretel, we keep going back to listen to it again and haven’t made it to the second half of the CD, so I can’t comment on that yet!)

If your preschooler has become attached to a particular piece of classical music, please add a comment–we’d love suggestions!

Update: For more ideas, check out “More Classical Music My Kids Love“!

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Posted on October 25, 2011, in Composer Study, Homeschool Resources, Parenting Resources, Preschool and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great idea! My daughter loves classical music as well. I will be checking out these titles!

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