50+ Must-Hear Classical Music Pieces for Kids

I am a musician by heart. I have loved music, I think from the moment I heard it. And I grew up with music all around me from the time I was tiny, which I am sure impacted and fed that love. My parents love music too, and they made sure my siblings and me had a very rich musical environment and a great musical education. I am grateful for that, because music is such an important part of life! Of course, I wanted that same kind of thing for my son, and so even from the time I knew I was pregnant, I began to play songs for him, sing to him, and make sure he was surrounded with as much music as possible. Of course, kids’ songs are great, and very important, and I went on a quest for the best kids’ songs I could find. But I think introducing classical music to kids is equally important, as it has so many benefits for children (and big people too!) We listened to a ton of classical music when Nathan was little, and he loved it! Now that we are in the thick of homeschooling and doing music history and education as part of our curriculum, we are still listening to the great classical pieces and works that have stood the test of time. Here are some of our faves, and ones I think should be on everyone’s listening list:

  1. Beethoven’s 5th Symphony
  2. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony – Ode to Joy
  3. Fur Elise by Beethoven
  4. Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven
  5. Pathetique Sonata by Beethoven
  6. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos
  7. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Bach
  8. Wachet Auf by Bach
  9. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring by Bach
  10. Air on the G String by Bach
  11. Ave Maria by Bach/Gounod
  12. Handel’s Water Music
  13. Handel’s Messiah
  14. The Four Seasons by Vivaldi
  15. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart
  16. Turkish March by Mozart
  17. Symphony #40 in G Minor by Mozart
  18. The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart
  19. “Queen of the Night” from The Magic Flute by Mozart
  20. Peer Gynt Suite by Grieg
  21. Canon in D by Pachelbel
  22. Adagio for Strings by Barber
  23. Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin
  24. Clair de Lune by Debussy
  25. Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun by Debussy
  26. The Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky
  27. 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky
  28. Rite of Spring by Stravinsky
  29. Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens
  30. The William Tell Overture by Rossini
  31. The Barber of Seville Overture by Rossini
  32. “Largo al factotum” (Figaro) from the Barber of Seville by Rossini
  33. “Anvil Chorus” from Il trovatore by Verdi
  34. Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov
  35. Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky-Korsakov
  36. “Minute” Waltz by Chopin
  37. Fantasie Impromptu by Chopin
  38. Nocturne in E Flat Major Op.9 No. 2 by Chopin
  39. Ride of the Valkyries by Wagner
  40. Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Liszt
  41. The Blue Danube by Strauss
  42. Also Sprach Zarathustra by Strauss
  43. “Flower Duet” from Lakme by Delibes
  44. Holst’s The Planets
  45. The Cradle Song by Brahms
  46. Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Brahms
  47. Carmen Overture by Bizet
  48. Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Rachmaninov
  49. Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky
  50. Bolero by Ravel
  51. Hoe-Down from “Rodeo” by Copland
  52. Fanfare for the Common Man by Copland
  53. Ave Maria by Schubert
  54. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Dukas
  55. The Wedding March by Mendelssohn

For your convenience, I have included YouTube links for all of these, many of which are live performances of the pieces, because it’s great for kids to watch the music being played on the instruments. Now, don’t get all offended if there is a piece that you think should have been on this list that isn’t there. This is by no means an exhaustive list. And I know I missed some that I would have liked to include simply because I can’t think of them right now. I will come back and add as needed, how about that? 🙂

In the meantime, enjoy some great music with your kids!


photo credit: barnigomez Felipe Dj. via photopin (license)

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About Susan Cunningham

Susan lives in Texas with her husband and son. She loves sharing about her faith in Jesus, writing, homeschooling her boy, natural living, eating real food, pursuing health and wellness, and teaching others about essential oils. She blogs about real life at www.livethereallife.com.

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