Introducing young children and babies to the wonderful world of music in general is a gift which will last a lifetime; classical music should definitely be included among the genres explored! From works by famous composers like Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach to works by lesser-known or contemporary composers, the children in your life (and you as the parent or carer!) have plenty of options to discover!
We've selected four examples of classical music and also created a larger Spotify playlist, curated especially for babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers! You can also visit the "Learning Hub" section on our site for more resources and media.
Liza Lehmann - There are fairies at the bottom of our garden
Liza Lehmann was a soprano classical singer and singing teacher as well as being a composer. She retired from singing in 1894 and then concentrated on composing (largely vocal) musical works. "There are Fairies at the Bottom of Our Garden" is a song for voice and piano, composed in 1917 to a text by Rose Fyleman. Fyleman's most noted poetic works were stories for children about fairy folk. Listen out for the unexpected ending... who do you think the Fairy Queen might be 🤔?
Gioachino Rossini - The Thieving Magpie: Overture
The overture (opening) from the opera "La gazza ladra" (The Thieving Magpie) was reputedly composed the day before the first performance! Supposedly, Rossini was locked in a room by the conductor of the orchestra, where he was guarded by stagehands who threw each completed page out the window and down to a copyist.
The story is about Ninetta - a young servant girl, who is accused of stealing a silver spoon. She is saved from her sentence at the last minute when the true thief is revealed: a magpie!
While the complete opera is not suitable for small children (and rarely performed in any case!), the overture and other excerpts certainly are! Listen out for the snare drums!
Discover the Sound Garden shop
Online products and courses for all ages
Matyas Seiber - The Owl and the Pussycat
Hungarian-born British composer Seiber was a composer who drew from many different influences - from the folk-influenced music of his native Hungary to the boundary-pushing serialism method to jazz... and more! In 1953, Seiber set the well-known poem "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Edward Lear to music for high voice, violin, and guitar/piano.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovksy - The Nutcracker - Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy
"The Nutcracker" (Щелкунчик) is a "fairy ballet" (балет-феерия), often performed at Christmas, as the story (by E. T. A. Hoffmann, adapted by Alexandre Dumas) takes place on Christmas Eve! This work became one of Tchaikovsky's most famous compositions.
The character of the Sugar Plum Fairy appears in Act II during Clara and the Prince's voyage to the Land of Sweets. The Prince tells the Fairy how Clara saved him from the Mouse King. In Clara's honour, sweets are brought out and dances are performed. The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier perform the closing dances of the night before a final group waltz. The Fairy's dance is famous for its use of the magical, bell-like celesta instrument!
If you are a Spotify user, listen to our Classical Music for Preschoolers playlist: