Classical fun

Enhance your child's imagination and learning processes through exposure to music.

Learning Stages

The truth of the Mozart effect (the theory that listening to classical music benefits children's mental development) is still a matter of debate. Regardless, exposing your child to classical music can be fun as well as educational. Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf and Mozart's The Magic Flute are two examples of classical works that will spark a child's imagination. The wide range of instrumentation provides the opportunity to listen to and learn about instruments and the sounds they make.

As you listen to the music with your child, query her about what she hears: What instrument makes the crash of lightning in "Peter and the Wolf"? (Cymbals.) What does the sound of the drums represent in "Peter and the Wolf"? (Thunder.) What instruments do you hear when Papageno helps Prince Tamino escape the Queen of the Night in "The Magic Flute"?

Music, whether classical, jazz or pop, can enhance the learning process by promoting language development, creativity, coordination and social interaction. Check with your local orchestra or philharmonic for family friendly performances throughout the year.

Listening resources

Peter and the Wolf composed by Sergei Prokofiev, conducted by Kent Nagano, performed by the Lyon Opera Orchestra, and narrated by Patrick Stewart (Erato, 1994)

The Magic Flute (Highlights) composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, conducted by Karl Böhm, and performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon, 1990)

Mozart's Magic Fantasy: A Journey Through The Magic Flute, conducted by Walter and performed by Babiak Studio Arts Orchestra (Children’s Group, 1995)

Reading resources

The Philharmonic Gets Dressed by Karla Kuskin (HarperTrophy. 1986)

The Story of the Incredible Orchestra: An Introduction to Musical Instruments and the Symphony Orchestra by Bruce Koscielniak (Houghton Mifflin, 2003)

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss (Aladin, 2005)