In honour of Andre's upcoming music exam, here's a post on classical music.
Many kids find classical music unpalatable, especially if they're hearing it for the first time. It's not instantly accessible like pop music. But classical music has wonderful benefits, one of them being it develops the mind. So if you want to expose your kids to classical music but their level of resistance is similar to that for green vegetables, I have three words for you: Hooked on Classics.
In 1981, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra recorded a very ingenious album which basically blended seamlessly together a series of highly recognisable tunes from classical music works, set to a distinctive pop beat. The recording was conducted by Louis Clark, former arranger for the Electric Light Orchestra.
The first cut of the album was so popular it actually reached No. 2 on the UK singles chart and No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981 and 1982. No mean feat considering these are pop music charts! The popularity of the album led to the release of two more Hooked on Classics albums in 1982 and 1983, followed by numerous spin-offs like Hooked on Swing.
Technically, they are not classical music albums because the beat is completely pop and they're too kitsch for true classical music fans. But in this respect, I'm no purist - I feel they are perfect for getting kids interested in classical music because the music is infectious and easy to catch on. It opens them to the possibility that classical music can be quite enjoyable, and that's half the battle won. I remember the albums paving my foray into classical music and Kenneth's too.
Recently, I downloaded the albums onto Lesley-Anne's handphone and she's... well, hooked. She has other pop music in there but she's addicted to Hooked on Classics. The best part is, the albums provide an entire list of the works that were extracted from, so they spark curiosity as to what the original pieces sound like. Lesley-Anne, after listening repeatedly to one of the tracks - Hooked on Tchaikovsky - said she wants to listen to the entire Swan Lake ballet suite.
Just as an example, the first track on the first album contains the following works:
Piano Concerto No 1 In B Flat Minor Op 23 / Tchaikovsky
Flight Of The Bumble Bee / Rimsky-Korsakov
Symphony No 40 In G Minor / Mozart
Rhapsody In Blue / Gershwin
Karelia Suite Op 11 / Sibelius
Symphony No 5 In C Minor Op 67 / Beethoven
Toccata In D Minor / JS Bach
Serenade No 13 In G Major - 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik' / Mozart
Symphony No 9 In D Minor Op 125 / Beethoven
Overture To William Tell / Rossini
Le Nozze Di Figaro / Mozart
Romeo & Juliet Fantasy Overture / Tchaikovsky
Trumpet Voluntary / Clarke
Hallelujah Chorus / Handel
Piano Concerto In A Minor Op 16 / Grieg
March Of The Torreadors / Bizet
1812 Overture / Tchaikovsky
Some of the titles may not sound familiar, but I'm sure you'll be surprised at how many you can recognise. They've been used for anything from tv commercials to movie themes. You can hear it on this Youtube video (the sound isn't great though, remember, it's a 1981 recording!)
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