Okay, so there’s no real proof Spotifying Beethoven during nap time will bring up your baby’s IQ. Still, an appreciation for classical music is an amazing gift to give your kids.
It primes them to more deeply enjoy music of all kinds. It encourages them to play an instrument, which is good for you in a whole bunch of ways. And best of all, it just might save you from that Frozen soundtrack you’d like to melt with a blowtorch.
So here are seven videos to help kids (and grownups) enjoy classical music.
Disney cranked out a whole series of silly symphony shorts in the 1930s, but the best with the prettiest score is by far the Ugly Duckling.
The animation will keep your little one’s attention, the music is varied and stylish, and the pluck of that misplaced little swan might get you teary if you’re not careful.
Unless your kid wants to see deeply talented and slightly pasty musicians flogging their instruments, this video is not really for watching. Instead, put it on for playtime.
You’ll be amazed how much more suspenseful and climactic dress-up becomes when Camille Saint-Saëns provides the soundtrack.
Here is a tour de force of weird and wonderful entertainment for kids. You haven’t really seen Peter and the Wolf until you’ve seen it done with a mix of human actors, puppets, and dummies, and narrated by Sting, for some reason.
The music is splendid, the action is colorful, odd, and varied, and the exploration of leitmotifs is second-to-none. There’s also a drunk duck. It’s great.
So far we’ve paired classical music with stories or playtime. With “the History of Violin,” we move into videos that focus on the music itself. It’s really an impressive and fast-paced performance, paired with captions that are educational with a dash of silliness.
We return to animation, here, but it’s not some story about alcoholic waterfowl. This is a concise and comprehensive illustration of the basic building blocks of music. TED-Ed has done it again.
There’s no way around it; this is a mini introduction to music theory, so it’s probably not going to thrill your toddler. But if your family is about to enter the world of music lessons, this video is a great thing to watch together before the scary instructor shows up.
This one might help you get away from that kid music you’ve heard on repeat in the car for the last two or three forevers. This video shows how fun it can be to put the lyrics of something by Adele to the melody of something by Beethoven.
Try it out on the songs your kid won’t stop singing. It’s fun, and pairing classical music with laughter will help teach your kid not to fear (and therefore hate) old-people music.
This one is for a kid who’s really ready to talk and think about music and how it makes our lives and stories richer. Evan Puschak has set himself apart on YouTube by making warm, smart, accessible, concise, well-edited videos about everything from Hitchcock’s choreography to how the Beatles changed album covers.
But one of his best videos shows us how Howard Shore’s score intensifies the Lord of the Rings movies. Spoiler alert: it’s the same way Prokofiev tells us the duck is at it again.
Torch is the smart, wifi router for connected families.