Classical Musicstudent

Best ‘Kid-Friendly’ Classical Music

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We want our students to listen to the best classical music, but let’s face it, most of us just don’t know where to start when it comes to finding good pieces that connect with kids. Let’s be honest here; if we choose the “wrong” kind of classical music as a first exposure, it might not scar them for life, but it might turn them away really, really fast.

I’m amazed daily at the techo-literacy of our kids these days.  I created some play lists for your kids to download into Spotify on their favorite device.  Even if you don’t know how to do this, your kids will.

Simply click on the title of the Classical Music category below (ie.  “Best Classical Music That’s Relaxing) and you will be redirected to my Spotify playlist.  Once this is done, click the ‘♥’ to save the entire play list to your library.

The basic Spotify app is free.  (I never pay for apps — guess I’m cheap like that!) .

Best Classical Music That’s Relaxing

  • Air on the G String–J. S. Bach
  • Polovtsian Dances Prince Igor–Borodin
  • The Four Seasons, spring, summer, winter–Antonio Vivaldi
  • Adagio for Strings–Samuel Barber Symphony No. 9, 1st movement–Dvorak
  • Romeo and Juliet Fanatasy Overture–Tchaikovsky
  • Clair de lune–Debussy
  • Nocturnes or Preludes–Chopin
  • Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini, Op. 43 (the 18th Variation is everyone’s favorite)– Rachmaninoff
  • Gymnopedies (3) for Piano–Eric Satie
  • Canon in D–Pachabel
  • Peer Gynt Suite: Dawn–Grieg
  • Unaccompanied Cello Suites, especially the Prelude to Cello Suite No. 1 in G–Bach

This is a great play list for studying or bed-time.  Actually, one of my teen students turned me on to the art of listening to ‘relaxing Classical’ for sleep.  Thanks, Anna!

Best Classical Music That’s Exciting

  • Flight of the Bumblebee Rimsky-Korsakov
  • Bolero–Ravel The Barber of Seville, overture–Rossini
  • Symphony No. 5 in c minor–Beethoven
  • Peer Gynt Suite, No. 1, In the Hall of the Mountain King–Edward Grieg
  • Etudes–Chopin
  • Piano Concerto in F–Gershwin
  • Rhapsody in Blue–Gershwin
  • Entry of the Gladiators (Einzug der Gladiatoren)
  • March for orchestra, Op. 68— Fucik
  • William Tell Overture: Finale – Rossini
  • Gayaneh (Sabre Dance) – Aram Khachaturian
  • Swan Lake, Op. 20 – Tchaikovsky
  • Carmina Burana: O Fortuna – Carl Orff

Hold on to your hat;  you will know several of these.

Best Classical Music That’s Beautiful

  • Piano Concerto – Amy Beach
  • Piano Trio, Op. 17 – Clara Schumann
  • Piano Trio in A minor – Maurice Ravel
  • Charlie Brown’s Lament – Ellen Taaffe Zwilich

So beautiful!  Charlie Brown’s Lament is my favorite.

Best Classical Music That’s Majestic

  • The Planets, Mars–Gustav Holst
  • Also Sprach Zarathustra–Richard Strauss
  • 1812 Overture (Festival Overture for Orchestra in Eb Major, Op. 49, Finale) – Tchaikovsky
  • Fanfare for the Common Man – Aaron Copland

Bold, brave and never boring!

Best Classical Music That’s Entertaining (story-like)

  • Carnival of the Animals–Saint-Saens
  • Peter and the Wolf–Prokofiev
  • The Cat and the Mouse–Aaron Copland
  • Caucasian Sketches (Procession Of The Sardar) – Mikhail Mikhaylovich Ippolitov-Ivanov

When my kids were young, we listened to the ‘Peter and the Wolf’ soundtrack frequently on car trips.  Get their imaginations going by asking them, “What do you think is going on right now?” as you listen to these pieces.

Best Classical Music That’s Just Great Just Because

  • Water Music (Music for the Royal Fireworks) –G. F. Handel
  • Eine kleine Nachtmusik–Mozart
  • Symphony No. 40 in G minor: l. Molto Allegro–Mozart
  • Concerto for Piano and Orchestra In A Minor Op. 16: Allegro molto moderato –Grieg
  • Variations on “Ah, vous dirai-je maman” (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) K. 265—Mozart

Actually, some of my more favorite Classical pieces are in this list.  I’ll give you a hint:  Handel is my most beloved Classical composer of the “old guys”.

Playlists were created with a little help from my friends at

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