Introducing Your Children to Classical Music


By Marcia Washburn

Music is one of those subjects we all feel guilty about.

“I really ought to expose my children to great music,” we tell ourselves. We know that music gives us opportunities to express our emotions and draws us together socially. And we remember the Scriptural commands to make music.1 Martin Luther wrote, “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.”2

Music touches us in every area of our lives—body, soul, mind, and spirit. Nothing has quite the same power over us, other than the Holy Spirit Himself. It is a gift that we can take to Heaven with us.

But that niggling little voice inside reminds us, “But you don’t know anything about music,” or “We just don’t have the money to buy a bunch of CDs,” or “My kids won’t like classical music anyway, so why bother?” And of course there is the time objection: “I have so many other subjects to teach—how can I fit in music, too?”

What if you could use the Internet to teach music? No expensive CDs or concert tickets to buy—just your trusty computer and the world of classical music is opened to you. Below is a sample lesson for you and your family to enjoy.     

There are several optional activities so it will likely interest even your least musically-inclined child.3 Some children will enjoy hearing stories about the composer’s life. Others will be fascinated by the science behind how the music is performed. The computer-lovers in your family will enjoy the bar graph version of the music.

Let’s get started on your ready-made introduction to classical music.

TIP: Don’t try to do all of the activities below; choose those of interest and spread them out over several days.

Capture Their Interest

Play the opening lines of the music found at this link [–Bach+Toccata+%26+Fugue+Kurt+Ison&mid=217868C6C97ABBC8BAC4217868C6C97ABBC8BAC4&view=detail&FORM=VIRE7].

After listening to the music for a little while, pause it and ask questions such as:

  • Have you heard this music before? Where?
  • What does it make you think about? Encourage the use of vivid adjectives and even stories.
  • What instrument is the man playing? How is the sound made?

The Instrument

The pipe organ’s sound comes from air passing through a collection of pipes of various lengths. Before the harnessing of electricity, air had to be pushed into the pipes by hand- or foot-operated bellows. A young boy was often given the job of pumping the bellows for the organist during rehearsals and church services.

Most churches today have electric organs due to the size and financial requirements of building a pipe organ. The sound is made electronically and does not require pipes. However, you may be able to find a church in your community that has a pipe organ. Denominations such as Lutheran, Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Methodist are good places to start since they often use classical music in their worship services. Ask the organist if you may take a tour.

Learn more about pipe organs at the links below.

This short video shows what the inside of the pipe organ looks like and how it works. Click here[].

A more detailed history and explanation of the engineering of the pipe organ can be found here[] in this description of the largest pipe organ in China. It discusses how electronic technology has permitted much advancement in the organ.

This video shows a man taking apart his homemade organ and narrating how it works. Click here[].

A five-part series here[] follows a man as he reassembles a pipe organ stored in his barn.

The Composer

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