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This post is part of a series designed to help get great classical music in your kids’ ears. I like to think of music seasonally, just like food. Sure you can eat a watermelon in January, but will it be good? The sense of waiting and rotating is part of what makes seasonal produce delicious. Music can be the same, which is why I encourage using these monthly playlists. A little infusion of new music each month keeps things fresh and lively. You enjoy it for a time, and then you enjoy moving on. Find the Summer list on Spotify here or use the Youtube links below.
CANON IN D // PACHELBEL
This famous piece made the list because June is the month most associated with weddings, and this happens to be one of the most well-known wedding pieces ever. The story of how this one rose to fame is super interesting – head HERE to find out why!
SUMMER FROM “THE FOUR SEASONS” // VIVALDI
We’ve already touched down on Winter and Spring, so it’s no shocker that Vivaldi’s Summer is on our list this month. Your kids will love what the music represents – and it’s easy to hear. (The link will take you to the 6:00 mark, which is the beginning of the 2nd movement. Listen to the end – it kicks in gear at 8:11!) Head HERE for more on this piece.
MUSIC FOR THE ROYAL FIREWORKS // HANDEL
Music for the Royal Fireworks is commonly heard in 4th of July fireworks shows. Of course, it was written by a German-living-in-England, so American freedom was not really on the agenda when Handel penned this tune. Get the full story HERE.
NEW WORLD SYMPHONY “ALLEGRO” // DVORAK
NEW WORLD SYMPHONY “LARGO” // DVORAK
There are patriotic undertones for the next two pieces on our list as well. Dvorak composed his New World Symphony after moving to, you guessed it, the New World, AKA ‘Merica. The Largo movement now has an association with the military, and the Allegro movement sounds like a famous movie score. Can’t wait for you to hear these two! More HERE.
THE FROGS // TELEMANN
This violin concerto from Baroque great Georg Telemann gained the affectionate nickname The Frogs because of its fanciful depiction of the little critters. Perfect for summer. Lesson HERE!
FANFARE FOR THE COMMON MAN // COPLAND
This is another piece that has become synonymous with patriotism. It was used in the Opening Ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and beautifully depicts American composer Aaron Copland’s ode to the everyday working man.
FINLANDIA // SIEBELIUS
This gorgeous piece makes the summer list in honor of it’s original premiere date – July 2, 1900. You might know this one as the tune for the gorgeous hymn Be Still My Soul. It originally had lots more to do with censorship, Finnish patriotism, and the Russians. Head HERE for a lesson.
THE WASPS // VAUGHAN WILLIAMS
I’ve often thought summer would be perfect if it weren’t for all the bugs. Vaughan Williams depicts a buzzing wasp in this piece, and your kids will be able to hear it clearly right at the beginning. Then they can enjoy the rest of the piece – which is not so buggy.
RADETZKY MARCH // STRAUSS
This one made the list in honor of Father’s Day. It was composed by the senior Strauss, father to two sons who also became famous composers. We’ve talked about the sons on the blog already (here and here) and now Dad gets his turn. Warning: it’s more of a cautionary tale of what not to do when it comes to father/son relationships. Lesson HERE.
STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER // SOUSA
The last of the patriotic inspired pieces on our list — can you tell I am working the 4th of July into our summer list? A Sousa march with a great story is perfect for celebrating our country’s birthday.
SUMMERTIME // GERSHWIN
Finally, the quintessential piece that embodies the languid heat and lazy days of summer. I included both a vocal and instrumental version on the Spotify list. The operatic vocal might turn your kids off, but try and give it a shot. Go for the instrumental if they just can’t deal (it’s the one linked above). The lesson HERE includes even more versions.
Enjoy this music flowing through your home all summer long!