Why Classical Music?

“Where words leave off, music begins.”
—Heinrich Heine

Video by Patricia Purcell

Patricia Purcell

Patricia Purcell has been an active member of the SAA for more than 20 years. She teaches in a unique Suzuki in the Schools program in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford School District. She is past-president of the North Texas Suzuki Association and works with Fort Worth-area Suzuki teachers to provide students opportunities for education and performance. She has organized teacher development workshops and assisted in establishing teacher training at the DFW WOW Suzuki Institute. While a member of the TCU School of Music faculty, she directed the TCU Suzuki Institute.

Ms. Purcell holds degrees from Texas Christian University and studied violin with Fredell Lack at the University of Houston. She taught in the Suzuki program while studying at The Hartt School of Music.

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Very sincere and well said. This is a great message. I don’t think we can ever be reminded too often why music and playing an instrument is important. Thanks!

Haig Avsharian, President—SHAR

Kristin Smith said: Feb 21, 2011
Kristin Smith3 posts

This is something that I have always felt. Music is very emotional for me. It can remind me of a year in my life, or specific event, bringing forth surges of the emotions that I felt at that time in my life. Thank you for your message.

Margarita Castro said: Feb 21, 2011
Margarita Castro10 posts

I teach a Parenting Class for Even Start. I teach them that Classical music is a genre that their children need to exposed to, even from the womb-just as we learn from Suzuki. Indeed, why not classical music? As I explain to them about the Mozart effect, that it can help develop the brain and have better grades. I’ve put together a classical CD for them to play for their children. Do you have any suggestions as to what music I should be sure to included?

Lucy Shaw said: Feb 22, 2011
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
50 posts

Well said Patty!! Thanks for this message.

Margarita—Here is a response to your question from our violin playing VP of Merchandising, Val Jaskiewicz. (I thought the question was sent to me but only now realized it was posted as a question for Patty. Thought I might as well pass it along!)

Val’s comments to your question about music on classical CD for children:

Of course, it isn’t just classical music that inspires 

I would suggest familiar and accessible tunes. Certainly Twinkle Little Star should be there. Probably shouldn’t include anything sad or blatantly warlike (Wagner may be best avoided) Other music that most people have heard could be included:
- Ode to Joy theme from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony
- Opening to first movement, Beethoven’s 5th Symphony
- Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, especially:
o Trepak (Russian Dance)
o Chinese Dance
o Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
o Waltz of the Flowers
- Rossini’s William Tell Overture
- Khachaturian’s Saber Dance
- Hoedown, from Copland’s Rodeo

That’s probably enough!


Patricia Purcell said: Feb 23, 2011
Patricia Purcell
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Fort Worth, TX
100 posts

Thanks for sharing your list. Most pieces that you find engaging will probably appeal to your students. I certainly agree with the previous comment that there is a wide variety of music that can be inspiring. Enjoy!

Jennifer Burton said: Feb 23, 2011
Jennifer BurtonInstitute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Stevens Point, WI
26 posts

Patty, I love how you said music can remind us of someone or an important event in our lives. Fabulous summary of how music affects us. I vote for Beethoven’s 6th symphony, Bach Brandenburg concerti, Mozart clarinet concerto and any Haydn string quartet.

Cecile said: Mar 3, 2011
Cecile Pendleton
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Bellingham, WA
2 posts

Hello, I am a Suzuki parent and former Suzuki student. My children are 6 (violin) and 4 (viola). We have played all forms of music (classical, pop, rock, jazz, folk, international) for them from the womb, as my husband and I are avid music lovers. However, our kids have gravitated particularly to Beethoven Symphonies (all 9, all movements, no kidding!), Mozart piano works, the Beatles, and Kraftwerk (a German electronic music band.) Expose kids to everything and they will decide on their own favourites.

I think showing them pictures of the performers and composers helps a lot, too. It gives them more of an idea that the people creating music are real people. It’s easy to find images and videos online or at the library.

I have steered away from most recordings that are performed by children (sing-along-group CDs) as I find the performances to be of a lesser quality and I don’t want my kids to think that this is the way it should sound. We go for the original performers of rock/pop/jazz and reputable symphonies, folk groups for the other genres. I found my instinct supported in one of the talks about practicing. The more the child hears the song the wrong way, they think that is how it should sound. We want them to imprint on the good sound, not the bad sound or even the mediocre sound.

I understand that kids may like to hear other kids performing, but for that we choose live performances. There are all kinds of opportunities to see children’s groups perform through local schools, theatre groups, music studios, choral groups, etc. The children get to see and hear other children doing music, which is exciting and inspiring. If the performances are less than perfect, who cares? It’s exciting to see other kids perform and my kids learn that it’s ok to make mistakes in performance and still have fun.

One last note on classical music. There’s an excellent CD series called Classical Kids. The CDs are stories combined with classical music from one composer. Titles are: Beethoven Lives Upstairs, Mr. Bach Comes to Call, Tchaikovsky Discovers America, and Mozart’s Magic Fantasy. These CDs are regular staples in our listening library. Hope you will enjoy them, too!

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