Intellectual Excellence: Music Appreciation

The steps for carrying out a successful Listening Program

Step One

Choose your favorite composer. It is always a good idea to start with your favorites when you are teaching your child. Your natural love for what you are presenting will naturally carry over into your child’s own taste. When you are comfortable executing the Listening Program, you can then venture into what is less familiar territory for you.

Sometimes a child does not like a particular piece of music. If so, put it away and try another piece of music. Someday you might want to try that piece of music again; what a child does not like today can become a favorite at another time.

When a child has a rich listening program it is natural to want to begin to make music for others.

Violin Playing

Step Two

Choose a piece that is dramatic, or very happy and joyful.

Step Three

Choose a piece that is short. This allows you to present the entire piece of music to your child. We would never show a corner of a piece of artwork. Instead, we always show the entire work. As much as possible present an entire piece of music to your child not merely a snatch of music. As your child becomes a more experienced listener, your child will enjoy longer and more sophisticated music.

Examples of short pieces of music:

“The Flight of the Bumblebee” by Rimsky-Korsakov. This is a composition that is very short (about a minute in length).

“The Nutcracker Suite” by Tchaikovsky. This work consists of many short pieces of music. Each piece is considered a complete work.

Step Four

Play this composition for your child three times a day for one week.

Announce the passage by telling your child the name of the composer and the name of the piece.

Show your child a Bit of the composer, if possible.

Step Five

Choose another piece and begin again from Step One. This piece can either be another by the same composer or you may want to try a different composer or a different style of music.

You can always return to that composer or that style at a later time.


  1. The younger your child, the shorter the musical composition you select should be.
  2. Gradually increase the length of each composition you choose.
  3. Always stop before your child wants to stop. This will ensure that your child will want more the next time.
  4. Enjoy every minute. This is fun.

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