How to Nurture a Young Music Fan

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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

This is back to school week for most children in schools around New York City. With that in mind, we want to know which piece of music does the best job at nurturing young classical music fans: Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the Animals, Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf or Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. You chose Peter and the Wolf in our poll and we played the piece today at 12 noon.


Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the Animals


Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf

Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra

Comments [29]

I really think that looking to one or two pieces of music or to the schools does not provide an answer for getting kids to love music. Any kind of music. I think that only when there is music in the home can a real love for music develop.

Sep. 07 2011 04:25 PM
Donna B. from New York City

Peter and the Wolf , hands down for me. Brings me back memories of my grandmother putting the record on the record player for us! One thing however, I don't think you should use the image of an animal skin hanging from the handle bars on the bike. It really sends a bad message to children. And although when I was a kid davey crocket coon hats were the rage and ok we know better now (or should) that it is not ok to exploit animals for fashion or anything else for that matter. Thanks

Sep. 07 2011 11:59 AM
Dennis Longwell from Long Island City, NY

Please, let it be the Britten. It's perfect.

Sep. 07 2011 11:55 AM
Francisca Sabadie from Scarsdale

while i love all three pieces, i must vote for "peter and the wolf" because that is how i was introduced to classical music in an actual performance setting and i still have fond memories of sitting in mcAllister Auditorium on the campus of Tulane Universtiy and we got to take time off to go to a concert!

Sep. 07 2011 11:53 AM
Ruth Shoenthal from NYC

The first classical music record my parents purchased for me was "Peter & the Wolf." It formed the basis of my passion for classical music. If you want to hear a very different version, I suggest that you list to Itzhak Perlman doing it in Hebrew with the IPO and Zubin Mehta. It's better than the English version.

Sep. 07 2011 11:52 AM

Peter and the Wolf is what got our granddaughter started. She was 2 (or 3) years old when her parents played it for her. She requested it again and again and again ....

Sep. 07 2011 11:52 AM
Dee from Upper Manhattan

Peter in the Wolf - no contest!

Sep. 07 2011 11:26 AM
Jerry from New York

We don't need to hear "The Carnival of the Animals" again. It's always on, either altogether or in parts. As for the Prokofiev, it's delightful, but it gets done regularly in kiddie concerts, not to mention all the recordings. Please give our ears some refreshment, and play the Britten. It made a pretty good learning film, with the composer conducting. giving learners the opportunity to see how an orchestra works, and let newcomers actually see what all the instruments look like and hear how instruments like the English horn sound.
As for me, a camp counselor once put Rimsky-Korsakov's "Sheherazade" on the PA system during bunk clean-up time: Revelation at reveille.

Sep. 07 2011 11:25 AM
Francesca Heller

I vote for Peter and the Wolf because I think children relate to it well and remember it for the story. As for the sadness of the duck getting eaten, that's part of life and what about all the violence in fairy tales? Whooray for Tubby the Tuba!!!!!

Sep. 07 2011 11:20 AM
T.B. Holtz

My choice is Britten's Young Person's Guide, but Saint Saens' Carnival of the Animals is fun, too.
Prokofiev was played for me when I was a child, but I don't like it as much as the other two pieces.

Sep. 07 2011 11:12 AM
Kim Salvo from NYC

"Carnival of the Animals" is so whimsical - it's the perfect children's melody without any bad guys. It always puts a smile on my face, especially the use of the xelephone. Being at work all day, this piece would do the trick.

Sep. 07 2011 11:06 AM
Jarvis from Washington, DC

When I was a kid living in Mt. Vernon, NY, I remember happening upon Leonard Bernstein on TV one Sunday afternoon explaining "everything" about music using 'Young People's Guide"! I understood very little of what was said,but I did enjoy it! Now I'm a very big Henry Purcell fan.

Sep. 07 2011 11:01 AM
Alice P from White Plains, NY

I vividly remember Peter and the Wolf so it gets my vote--a sentimental one!

Sep. 07 2011 10:48 AM
harrietb98 from Bayside, NY

What they left out were two works that REALLY introduce children to classical music; Rusty in Orchestraville and Tubby the Tuba.

Sep. 07 2011 10:40 AM
Maria E

Britten's "Young Person's Guide to the Orquestra" says it all in it's title. Appreciation of the diferent instruments is the final goal in this piece.

Sep. 07 2011 10:29 AM
luz rodas from Jackson Heights, NY

Even though my favorite piece as a child was Peter and the Wolf, my vote now is for Britten's Young Person' Guide because it allows to appreciate every instrument and the whole orchestra. It's a very didactic and wonderful piece.

Sep. 07 2011 10:19 AM
J from Columbia, South Carolina (originally Ithaca, NY)

I vote for Prokofiev simply because it introduces different instruments, how they can represent different characters and how a piece of music can tell a story. A good FIRST introduction to classical music. The others would be the logical next pieces having established the initial understanding.

Sep. 07 2011 10:15 AM
joni hartsough from Hillsdale, NJ

I vote for Peter and the Wolf. It is a wonderfully engaging piece especially for young listeners.

Sep. 07 2011 10:13 AM
Kenneth Thomas from Manhattan

My vote is for Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra as it is the best introduction to the instruments in the orchestra. It will help young people to identify which instruments are playing which parts in a given piece.

Sep. 07 2011 09:58 AM
cj raymond from nyc

When I was very little growing up in brooklyn in the 40"s I LOVED it when my folks played the peter and the wolf album for me ....the album cover was beautiful, but I was always sad when the wolf got the duck -

Sep. 07 2011 09:46 AM
Maria from Brooklyn NY

One of my very first records was "Carnival of the Animals", with Noel Coward reciting the Ogden Nash verses. No other narrator has ever come quite as close to the perfection of Mr. Coward's diction and lilting irony.

For other choices introducing children to classical music: I came into early contact with Gilbert & Sullivan and Tchaikovsky (both "Nutcracker" and "Swan Lake").

Sep. 07 2011 09:35 AM
Tim Brown from Washington, DC

These are all wonderful choices, as are the many other influential greats named in the comments. I vividly remember watching a scratchy 16mm print of Malcolm Sargent narrating and conducting Britten's Young Person's Guide in music appreciation class, so that's the one that gets my vote.

Sep. 07 2011 08:58 AM
philip b from oakhurst nj

I voted for Peter and the wolf whereas its the only one of the three I remember from my childhood. However it was Grofé's Grand Canyon suite that first pricked my interest in classical music as a child. Eternally grateful to my elementary school music teacher.

Sep. 07 2011 08:23 AM
Benita from Cary, nc

Oh my - Peter & The Wolf without question. What incredible memories growing up and going to watch Leonard Bernstein conduct this wonderful piece of music. My heart smiles whenever this is played. Thank you

Sep. 07 2011 08:05 AM
John J. Christiano from Franklin NJ

Unfortunately, this is not a video choice but I think Disney's Fantasia appealed to the young more than any audio-only presentation ever could. My son loved it.

But having said that, Peter and The Wolf gets my vote.

Sep. 07 2011 08:03 AM
Shelly H. from Woodmere

My dad used to play all kinds of classical music while he was working in the basement so my tastes are varied. I called them "cartoon music" since many tunes were used as background for many older TV cartoons. The "Sorcerer's Apprentice" or "William Tell Overture" would also have been good choices.

Sep. 07 2011 07:59 AM
Bernie from UWS

I still remember hearing Philip Glass on Sesame Street as a kid. The patterns in his music were brilliantly synched to colorful illustrations on screen. It would be nice to hear more of Glass's work on QXR but alas, the programming has grown only more homogeneous and staid in recent times.

Sep. 07 2011 06:48 AM
Gev Sweeney from Ocean Grove, New Jersey

I was raised on Beethoven, but I remember listening over and over to our recording of Peter and the Wolf. In the absence of the choice of the Ninth, which is full of imagination-firing, dramatic sounds, I voted for the Prokofiev.

Sep. 07 2011 06:35 AM
Michael Meltzer

Those three are great compositions, and we all enjoy them as adults too, but I've yet to hear better start-up introductions for kids than "Rusty in Orchestraville" or "Tubby the Tuba."

Sep. 07 2011 01:22 AM

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