Studio Blog

The Essential Classical Music List for Kids (and parents too!)

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 by Caitlin Gervais | Music Appreciation

You want your child's musical education to be as rich and beautiful as possible, but like any parent, you're busy, and perhaps you're just not even sure where to begin. So it's easy for the idea to be lost in the sea of good intentions. (Been there - lots!) Finding pieces that your kids will connect with could make or break your child's appreciation for classical music. But fear not! The work has already been done for you! Here is a comprehensive list of the best of the best to get you started! Just hop on your favourite music streaming service, search and enjoy! (Try YouTube or Spotify if you don't have a paid music streaming service such as Google Music, iTunes or Amazon Music, etc.)

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

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) – Fucik
  • 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

Best Classical Music That’s Beautiful

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

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

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

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


Special thanks to Wendy Stevens of for curating this fabulous list.