Updated: Feb 29
“I’m not sure how much more of baby shark I can take!” I admitted in my music session last week. I was relieved to hear that I wasn’t the only one who had a major dislike (bordering on hatred) for this song. However, as good parents we endure it for the sake of our children despite our diminishing sanity. It seems that our little ones’ love a short catchy tune that is upbeat in tempo and jolly in nature. “What if there is another way” I thought. So here it is… I have complied a list of 5 classical tunes your toddler will love. In addition, I’ve included some ideas of activities you can do whilst listening to these pieces. Enjoy!
Radetzky March, Johann Strauss I
This is an upbeat march that makes you want to clap your hands and march your feet.
Add some colour to this process and take a scarf in each hand and march to the beat. When the contrasting middle section arrives, throw and catch the scarf in time to the music.
Carmen Overture, Georges Bizet
Children love this piece for the contrasting sections of crashing cymbals and the fast-paced tempo to the light, floating melodies.
Take two balls and sit opposite your child, both of you with your legs in a V shape. For the marching sections bounce your ball on the floor in time to music. For the smooth, melodic sections, roll the ball backwards and forwards to one another.
In the Hall of the Mountain King, Edvard Grieg
This piece of music is so much fun for little ones. The piece gains momentum throughout and finishes in a loud flurry of activity.
A great activity to support this would be to take a piece of lycra and bounce some toys on it. Start quietly and gently. As the piece increases in tempo and volume, increase the movement of the lycra.
William Tell Overture, Gioachino Rossini
Children love the idea of riding horseback to accompany piece.
Take your little one on your knees and bounce them up and down in time to the music. For the contrasting sections, sway your little one from side to side on your lap whilst holding their hands. This must come with a warning as it can be a little taxing on your legs.
The Aquarium, Camille Saint-Saens
In stark contrast to the other pieces, this is very calming and relaxing. As the name suggests the music imitates fish in an aquarium, gracefully swimming around.
Take a scarf, a piece of floaty material or some ribbons and imitate the shape of the music, rising and falling following the melodic contours.
What is so wonderful about this ‘active listening’ approach to classical music, is that primarily your children associate it with fun. Beyond this, they are beginning to carefully listen to the music to anticipate and respond to its musical cues. But the best news of all is that it stops us parents from slowly losing our minds.
Bye bye baby shark!