Sure, kid-specific and pop music have their time and place, but when we learned that music historian Robert Greenberg was praising the benefits of classical music for kids, we were ready to listen up. We spoke with the professor and author of How to Listen to Great Music: A Guide to Its History, Culture, and Heart and he shared five reasons why moms should turn down Kidz Bop and turn up the Bach.

  1. Great music encourages the gifts of friendship and solace. Having familiarity and being able to identify with a piece of classical music is a tremendous gift. That piece will remain a friend and a source of beauty and solace forever. As we grow older and our own lives become more enriched, our relationship with a piece of classical music only deepens.
  2. Classical music teaches us appreciation for those who have gone before us. In our technocratic age, it's all too easy to assume that because we have cool electronic toys and modern conveniences, we are smarter and more advanced than people who lived centuries ago. While technology may be linear, art and music are not.
  3. Classical music teaches us to listen patiently. What generally distinguishes classical music from popular music is information content. Most popular music is expository, meaning that a given piece consists wholly of a single principal thematic idea. In a classical piece, the principal theme is only the beginning. That material might then be extended and varied, developed and transformed, contrasted with other thematic ideas, or all of the above.

Keep reading for more reasons to incorporate classical music into your kids' repertoires.

  1. Few things benefit our children more than learning to play a musical instrument. Making music enhances brain development and emotional growth, abstract thinking, and self-discipline as few other things can. As parents, one of the best things we can do for our kids prior to starting music lessons is expose them to music that stretches their ears.
  2. Knowing the stories behind art music and its composers is fun. For example, even as an adult, Johannes Brahms loved to play with toy soldiers, and preferred the company of children to adults. The Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky used to hold his head with his left hand while conducting for fear that his head was going to fall off (I kid you not!). By understanding composers as people, we make their music more approachable, more user-friendly and very often, more enjoyable.

Source: Flickr User Ernst Vikne