Ho-Ho-Holiday Music: 20 Great Classical Pieces for the Entire Family

Belinda Takahashi, Ph.D.
November 29, 2017

It's the holidays! Time to shop, eat, celebrate with the family, and break out the music! Although this time of year is one of the busiest and most stressful, it is also an excellent occasion to experience the abundance of music that's out there during the holiday season. From symphony orchestras performing family concerts to local chamber music groups and choirs putting on holiday performances, there is no shortage of musical opportunities. It is also a wonderful time to make your own music as a family by singing holiday songs and filling your home with the sounds of great music.

Below is a list of 20 classical pieces that I think children and adults alike will truly enjoy. Encourage your child to dance and sing or play along with the music, as well as act out a story based on what they think the music is describing. Also, talk about what your child likes or notices: Is there an instrument in particular that your child enjoys or a composer that she prefers?  

Have fun listening to these great pieces and sharing music with your entire family, now and always!

1. Saint-Saens - Carnival of the Animals
2. Bizet - "March of the Toreadors" from Carmen
3. Tchaikovsky - Nutcracker Suite
4. Holst - The Planets
5. Debussy - Children's Corner Suite
6. Vivaldi - The Four Seasons 
7. Handel - Hallelujah Chorus 
8. Mozart - The Magic Flute
9. Dvorak - Dumky Trio
10. Prokofiev - Peter and the Wolf
11. Rossini - William Tell Overture
12. Copland - Rodeo
13. Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition (Gnomes)
14. Rimsky Korsakov - Flight of the Bumblebee
15. Chopin - Polonaise in A-flat Major
16. Ravel - Mother Goose Suite 
17. Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue
18. Smetana - Ma Vlast (The Moldau)
19. Dvorak - "From the New World" Symphony #9 
20. Mendelssohn - Songs Without Words


An Emmy award-winning and internationally recognized composer, Belinda has been immersed in music since her childhood.  Starting as a concert pianist, she turned to music composition at age 10.  She received her bachelor's degree at Oberlin Conservatory and later went on to the Eastman School of Music, where she was awarded the sole spot for a full graduate fellowship and received her M.M. and Ph.D. in Music Composition.  As a university professor, she has taught Music Composition, Music Theory and Orchestration at various universities including the Eastman School of Music, Rochester University, Drake University and Montclair State University.  Belinda is a recognized authority and sought after speaker on children and music.  She is currently ranked as the #1 "Mompreneur" by Babble.com and has been interviewed for her business and creative acumen in publications such as Time Magazine, Venture Beat, Forbes, Fast Company, among many others.  She is a seasoned media producer having managed over 100 people and co-creating the Juno Baby and Juno Jr. brands. The Juno Company represents the culmination of her lifelong devotion to music, experiences as a mother and love of children.

Originally published in 2011.

From the Parents

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