In Involving Kids in Music (1) I mentioned my introduction to classical music being via Merrie Melodies cartoons on TV. Another brilliant cartoon, Hanna and Barbera this time, was Tom and Jerry: The Cat Concerto, a great introduction to Liszt's music. I still love lots of classical music, but have what I would describe as an eclectic music taste, enjoying Gilbert and Sullivan, lots of world music, popular opera pieces, songs from my parents' era, as well as favourite artists and songs from my era. Although I don't number many appreciative fans, (in fact, none at all) I love to sing, and recently found a great website that encourages closet contraltos like me:
Reading song lyrics can be very motivating for some kids. When they have listened to a song often enough to learn it, reading the lyrics and singing along is a great way for them to add new sight words to their visual memory. It also helps with their general reading fluency. At Karaoke Party, you can either plug in your microphone and sing along, or choose to read and sing the lyrics without it. Not all songs are free, and the site would like you to send invites to everyone in your address book to make it free (No thank you very much!). But I forgave them this for the sheer joy of belting out Hotel California and Memory. Oh, kids needn't worry though, not all the songs are classics!
Classics for Kids
Take a while to explore all Classics for Kids has to offer: composers, instruments, music for young children, lesson plans and teaching resources, games.
You'll find many excerpts of classical pieces to listen to, from composers like Kodaly, Debussy, Bach, Mozart, Verdi and Holst. I liked the downloadable activity sheets. My favourite game was Be a Rockin' Rhythm Master - I just can't help being cool! You can listen to the Classics for Kids radio show, too.
At the BBC's Musical Mysteries, kids must help Robbie and Curly solve some problems by engaging in musical activities.
Kids Know It
There is a music section at Kids Know It, where you'll find links to free educational songs. You can listen to songs at the site, and find out if you can download them.
At Daria, you can listen to great songs like Magdalena,Hagdalena and We've Got the Whole World in Our Hands Some other songs only have lyrics. This is a great way to discover if you'd like to buy some CDs from this wonderful musician. There's also a lovely section where you can listen to, and find out how to make musical instruments.
Kneebouncers is a lovely simple interactive site for toddlers which includes a music maker.
Big Green Rabbit
Big Green Rabbit has songs with a bouncing ball to help young ones read and sing the lyrics.
Here's a great interactive introduction to Peer Gynt for kids.
At Arts Alive, you'll find some nice interactives where kids can compose a tune, plus wonderful lessons, quizzes, and lots of listening.
Here's a PBS site with some cute songs for preschoolers to listen to and read along with.