Why Expose Children to Classical Music?
In 1993, researchers at the University of California studied the effect of classical music on the human brain, and found that spatial intelligence increased because of listening to classical selections. This study was later dubbed "The Mozart Effect."
While classical music has been proven to have educational benefits, it also offers children a chance to talk about, move with and experience emotions through song. Learning about composers gives children a glimpse into history, and gaining knowledge about instruments allows kids to explore options for playing one themselves. Finally, if this wasn't enough, classical music is beautiful to listen to! These classical music websites for kids offer a way to introduce children to this style of music in an interesting, engaging way.
Classics for Kids Website: This website, powered by Cincinnati Public Radio WCUG, is a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to teach their kids about classical music. Their website features information about famous composers organized by musical time period, country and by last name. It also features a musical games section where a child can create his/her own musical composition, play a note name or rhythm game or answer questions about composers.
Under the 'more about music' section kids can learn about musical instruments, music careers, or even terms from a music dictionary. Classical pieces can be listened to on the website, and you can also find when classical pieces will be played on the air through their radio station. Finally, it has a section for parents and teachers called 'for grown-ups' which has information on music education and how to get a child interested in classical music.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra Kids Website: The Dallas Symphony Orchestra has had a great website for children for years! As a classroom music teacher, I used this site with my students. The site includes a section for games, activities to do at home, listening, and an orchestra seating chart as well as the opportunity to join their D.S.O. Kid's Club. You can hear song selections organized by composer or instrument. Under the 'activities at home' section, parents or teachers have access to instructions on how to make instruments, practice tips for children that play an instrument and a D.S.O. practice challenge for instrumentalists.
San Francisco Symphony Kids Website: Like the Dallas Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, has a website for kids, too! It has three main sections. One is for learning about what's happening at the S.F.S., the other two are learning-based sections featuring a music lab and instruments of the orchestra. There also is a radio on their website where you can play classical selections. In the music lab, a student can create a composition and also learn about music terms like harmony, tempo, and rhythm.
KUSC Creative Kids Central Website: Affiliated with classical music radio station, KUSC, this website is unique in that it features classical music in many different ways. A child can learn about choral music, a solo voice, a solo instrument, chamber works, opera and the symphony.
There are also interactive listening examples, like "Hansel and Gretel's: Learning About Opera" game where you become the director of the opera. An interesting feature of this site is the family listening activities. There are song selections along with ideas on how parents can help their child(ren) listen for 'waves,' 'rivers,' and other sounds the music makes.
A Comprehensive List of Classical Music Websites
Nw York Philharmonic Kidzone Website: Here is another great classical music website for kids. Sponsored by the New York Philharmonic, this site features a game room, composers area, a place to make up your own song, an area to learn about instruments, and place to learn how to make instruments. There is also a place to learn about the New York Philharmonic. A neat feature of this website is a place to learn about the soloists with the orchestra and the conductor. Short biographies of how each person got involved in the field of music are highlighted here.
Carnegie Hall's Listening Adventure For Kids: At Carnegie Hall's website, the listening adventure for kids includes a place to listen to Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, an interactive guide to learn about the instruments of the orchestra, and a guide to learning about Carnegie Hall. This section is ideally designed for children ages 6 to 12, but both kids and adults will learn from the information presented here.
Keeping Score Website: For the older children, this website sponsored by the San Francisco Symphony is ideal. Compared to the other websites listed here, this is less designed for entertainment, and more geared towards factual learning and listening. Keeping Score's website features composers, musical technique, scores, and history. You can click on a composer and learn a famous piece of work from him/her and listen to it. This website is full of pieces to listen to, which makes it a must for classical musical exposure.
Keep Exposing Your Child to Classical Music
While you can use these classical music websites for kids, you can also take your child to a junior high or high school orchestra concert, a professional production of an opera or a symphony orchestra's performance. You can play classical music as you drive, by tuning in to a local classical music station, or playing a CD or tape of classical selections. However you expose your child to classical music, the benefits with be worth the effort!
References and Photo Credits
Mozart Effect, Dr. Jonathan Plucker
Sydney Opera House, wikimedia commons, photographer Shannon Hobbs, Opera House 223131.jpg
Carnegie Hall photo, wikimedia commons, photographer Simeon87, Carnegie Hall 2008.jpg
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra photo, wikimedia commons, photographer yeugene, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.jpg