Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing

Classical Music–Kids and Former Kids Welcome!


It’s a new year, and a time for new beginnings.  For some people, that might mean taking their first step into classical music.

If you never heard it before, classical music might seem confusing (especially if it involves singing in a language you don’t know).  Or long–which could be an obstacle for those born in the age of the three-minute song and the 140-character message (so, anyone born after about 1955, maybe even before that).

And let’s face it, like it or not, first impressions count.  That’s why it’s so important to make the first classical music that you hear enjoyable, even fun, whether you’re 5 or 65.

Britain gets it.

The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) has developed a program called Classical 100.  It’s 100 pieces of music selected to introduce elementary school children to classical music.  There’s also material to help discuss the composer, the stories behind the music, recordings, and more.

The bad news is the materials are only available to teachers in Great Britain.

The good news is they’ve published the list of 100 pieces.  And it’s not just for kids.

You can see the ABRSM list below.  If I can find YouTube videos or freely available recordings, I’d like to make a separate page containing the list or something like it with links so you can listen.  I’ll let you know.

In addition, I can’t resist including a link to this article: “Here are 7 pieces we demand you listen to at ear-exploding volume.”   That’s really the title.

Warning:  Please don’t explode your ears.  Do not listen at high volume using earphones/earbuds. Don’t blow out your speakers.  Notice I said nothing to dissuade you from “enlightening” your friends, neighbors, co-workers, or parents.

And, kids, when your mother tells you to turn it down, say

But Mommm, I’m listening to classical music!

Here’s the list (which I found here).  If you can think of something good to add, let me know.

Allegri: Miserere

Bach, JS: Brandenburg Concerto No.5, 1st Movement; Air on a G String; ‘Badinerie’ from Orchestral Suite No.2; Toccata and Fugue in D Minor

Barber: Adagio for Strings

Bartók: ‘Joc cu bâta’ from Romanian Folk Dances

Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata, 1st Movement; Symphony No.5, 1st Movement; Für Elise; ‘Ode to Joy’ from Symphony No. 9

Bernstein: ‘Mambo’ from West Side Story Symphonic Dances

Bizet: ‘Farandole’ from L’Arlésienne Suite No.2; ‘March of the Toreadors’ from Carmen Suite No.1

Brahms: Hungarian Dance No.5

Britten: ‘Fugue’ from Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra

Chopin: Raindrop Prelude

Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man; ‘Hoe Down’ from Rodeo

Debussy: Prélude à l’apres midi d’un faune

Delibes: ‘Flower Duet’ from Lakmé

Dukas: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Dvořák: ‘Largo’ from Symphony No.9 ‘New World’; Slavonic Dance No.8

Elgar: Cello Concerto, 1st movement; ‘Nimrod’ from Enigma Variations; Pomp and Circumstance March No.1

Falla: ‘Ritual Fire Dance’ from The Bewitched Love

Fauré: ‘Berceuse’ from Dolly Suite; Pavane

Fitkin, Graham: Hook

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue

Grainger: Londonderry Air

Grieg: ‘Gavotte’ from Holberg Suite; Piano Concerto, 1st Movement; ‘Morning Mood’ from Peer Gynt Suite

Handel: ‘Hallelujah’ from The Messiah; ‘Hornpipe’ from Water Music Suite No.1

Haydn: Symphony No.94 ‘Surprise’, 2nd Movement; Trumpet Concerto, 3rd movement

Hérold: ‘Clog Dance’ from La Fille Mal Gardée

Hildegard of Bingen: ‘O Euchari’ from Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum

Holst: ‘Jupiter’ from The Planets

Humperdinck: ‘Evening Prayer’ from Hansel and Gretel

John Adams: ‘The Chairman Dances’ from Nixon in China

Kats-Chemin, Elena: ‘Eliza Aria’ from Wild Swans

Khachaturian: ‘The Sabre Dance’ from Gayane Suite No.3

Kodály: ‘Viennese Musical Clock’ from Háry János Suite

Mendelssohn: ‘Scherzo’ from A Midsummer Night’s Dream; The Hebrides Overture

Monteverdi: ‘Ave Maris Stella’ from Vespers

Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, 1st Movement; Symphony No.40, 1st Movement; Clarinet Concerto, 2nd Movement; Horn Concerto No.4, 3rd Movement; ‘Papageno’s Song’ from The Magic Flute

Mussorgsky: ‘Baba Yaga’ from Pictures at an Exhibition; Night on a Bare Mountain

Orff: ‘O Fortuna’ from Carmina Burana

Pachelbel: Canon

Prokofiev: ‘Peter’s Theme’ from Peter and the Wolf; ‘Troika’ from Lieutenant Kijé Suite; ‘Dance of the Knights’ from Romeo and Juliet

Puccini: ‘Nessun Dorma’ from Turandot

Purcell: ‘Dido’s Lament’ from Dido and Aeneas

Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2, 1st Movement

Ravel: Boléro

Reich, Steve: Six Pianos               

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherezade, 2nd Movement; ‘Flight of the Bumble Bee’ from The Tale of Tsar Saltan

Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez, 2nd movement

Rossini: William Tell Overture

Rutter, John: Shepherd’s Pipe Carol

Saint-Saëns: ‘Aquarium’ from Carnival of the Animals; Danse Macabre

Schubert: Marche Militaire; Trout Quintet, 4th Movement

Schumann, C: Romances for Violin and Piano, 1st Movement

Schumann, R: ‘About Foreign Lands’ from Kinderszenen

Shostakovich: Symphony No.5, 4th Movement; ‘Waltz’ from Jazz Suite No.2

Sibelius: ‘Intermezzo’ from Karelia Suite

Sousa: Liberty Bell

Strauss, J: The Blue Danube

Strauss, R: Also sprach Zarathustra

Stravinsky: ‘Russian Dance’ from Petrushka

Tallis: If Ye Love Me

Tavener: The Lamb

Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture; ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ from The Nutcracker

Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Greensleeves; The Lark Ascending; The Wasps overture

Verdi: ‘Grand March’ from Aida; ‘La Donna è Moblie’ from Rigoletto

Wagner: ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ from Die Walküre

Warlock: ‘Mattachins’ from Capriol Suite

Widor: ‘Toccata’ from Organ Symphony No.5

Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, ‘Winter’, 2nd movement; ‘In Excelsis Deo’ from Gloria



3 thoughts on “Classical Music–Kids and Former Kids Welcome!

  1. Thank you for reminding me of Final Exams week at Caltech …

    Liked by 1 person

  2. …and Ditch Day is tomorrow. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, I didn’t know Graham Fitkin. Love his stuff! Now I’ve spent money at Amazon . . . .

    I guess the list-makers couldn’t stomach making John Adams the first alphabetically, heh, heh.


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