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Classical 101

Music for Your Back to School Morning Routine

Kylie Harwell-Sturgill meme, Wikipedia image

I remember the days of rushing out the door for school; the missing socks, the lukewarm oatmeal, and the flurry of homework scattered across the dining room table. We've all been there. 

With that scholarly scramble in mind, I've got a few stand-by musical selections to calm your nerves, cool your coffee, and even help improve your students' test scores. It's a Back to School playlist with Classical 101.

Institutes such as the John Hopkins University School of Education and the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine have published everything from intensive research studies and abstracts to outlines for classroom initiatives. Why? Because listening to Classical music has many positive side effects such as significantly lowering blood pressure and improving spacial reasoning skills

Of course, this is not just for young students, either. Don't believe me? Check out this TED Talk with Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic.

Obviously every individual is different and Classical music won't necessarily make your kindergardener into a math whiz overnight, but it could certainly help them develop good listening habits. Here are a few selections to help:

  1. Classical 101 on-air and online: 

Classical 101 provides music from nearly 1,000 years of Western music composition with a special focus on Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods. Free to the public on-air and online on our mobile app, this music is curated and introduced by friendly and knowledgeable hosts with a penchant for humor and insight. 

Join host Boyce Lancaster weekday mornings from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM, or tune in during your lunch break to hear the Amadeus Deli with Jennifer Hambrick at noon. 

2. Glen Gould playing Bach's Goldberg Variations:

This is my morning go-to. Friends who have sat down to breakfast with me at home know that I love to play the entirety of Glen Gould's interpretation of Bach's Goldberg Variations while cooking and enjoying my eggs and salad. (Always with a healthy dose of coffee, of course.) 

Why am I so fanatical about listening to the same 47 minutes of music in the morning? One word: counterpoint. 

Counterpoint is defined as, "the art or technique of setting, writing, or playing a melody or melodies in conjunction with another, according to fixed rules." And trust me, these rules are far more tricky than most people imagine. Listening to counterpoint written by masters such as Johann Sebastian Bach is akin to listening to the mathematics of functional arithmetic with instruments, but it's actually enjoyable.

Don't believe me? Read this and then check out Gould's take on the Goldberg Variations:


3. Felix Mendelssohn's Overture for 'A Midsummer Night's Dream':

I'm biased, and I'll admit it. Really, any overture will make your morning a little brighter. Sit down for 40 seconds at your computer and open up youtube.com and simply type "Overture" and your favorite composer's name and chances are you will have a better morning.

This particular overture is morning music, plain and simple, though. The opening chordal motif is like a harmonic expression of watching the sun rise. It is timeless and evokes a sense of magic. What better way to encourage your child to think creatively? 


4. Composer Birthday Parties:

That's right. One great way to incorporate Classical music into your daily routine is to keep it as simple as a quick birthday celebration.

Check out Classical Net's Composers' Birthday List and then do a quick search for one or two youtube videos with music by that composer. It's that easy to learn something new and enjoy Classical music every day. Also, be sure to check out Composer's Datebook with host John Zech on Classical 101 every day at 5:59 AM and 5:59 PM. 

All aboard!

Credit Wikipedia, public domain
Wikipedia, public domain
Classical 101 broadcasts Classical music 24/7 on-air and online.