Classics for Kids was launched at WGUC in 1998 and is an ongoing project for WGUC and Cincinnati Public Radio. Currently, 23 stations across the country carry the program and people all over the world make use of the materials on the website.
We’ve learned that the best way to maintain an audience for classical music is to introduce it to the next generation of listeners at an early age. Classics for Kids addresses a lack of music education in schools by providing teachers, home-schoolers, and parents with the materials needed to teach children about classical music. The educational materials are based on national and state standards.
Each set of lesson plans focuses on an individual classical music composer and a selected piece of music. To make learning about classical music fun and accessible, we have developed several multimedia games available free of charge for use on computers and hand-held digital devices.
Teachers and parents have reinforced the need for support materials and the home-schooling community has been particularly enthusiastic about our free lesson plans and interactive games. By dovetailing our curriculum with national and state standards, we’ve made it easier for teachers to incorporate the program into their classrooms. We’ve also been surprised by the number of adults who listen to and appreciate the program, even if they don’t have young children or grandchildren at home.
Keeping teachers engaged in the program is critical, so every year we offer a teacher workshop to highlight new lesson plans and ideas to integrate Classics for Kids into the classroom. In 2019, 16 teachers, representing a total of 2,914 students, registered for the workshop. Additionally, we sponsor an annual family event to build awareness of the program. We also partner with local music organizations, like the Linton Music Series.
We plan to work with young musicians and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music students to create a new benefit CD for WGUC and Classics for Kids. Our goal for this CD is to highlight local musicians in order to encourage students to pursue music education and careers.
This program offers ample opportunity to partner with other arts organizations and local musicians, and great potential for grants to both sustain and grow it.