WGUC Classics for Kids: Discovering Classical Music

By Chris Phelps |

Classics for Kids host Naomi Lewin with composer John Corigliano. Photo by Lara St. John.

What’s it like to be a conductor and lead an entire symphony orchestra?

Classics for Kids, a weekly feature and educational outreach program produced by classical public radio station WGUC in Cincinnati, OH, explored this question in six minutes. In a recent episode, famed American conductor JoAnn Falletta shared her early love of music, how seeing her first concert inspired her to become a conductor and all the preparation that goes into being successful at her job.

Classics for Kids host Naomi Lewin makes classical music fun for kids and accessible to learners of all ages.

For more than 20 years, Classics for Kids has aired every weekend. Each month features a different composer, such as Mozart or Beethoven, with programs that center on their life and music. The show averages almost 8,000 listeners per week in Greater Cincinnati. Also, 22 public radio stations nationwide broadcast the program.

The Classics for Kids podcast is WGUC’s most popular, averaging 54,600 downloads per month. One parent noted, “I really enjoy listening to the podcasts with my children. We use them as part of our homeschooling, so usually I download the podcasts about the composer we are currently studying. We love listening to them in the car. Thank you for all the work you put into these wonderful programs!”

In addition to Classics for Kids’ weekly show, the program’s website, ClassicsforKids.com, is a hub for making music fun and gives teachers and parents resources they can use to introduce kids to classical music. The site provides FREE lesson plans, activity sheets, tips, games and an interactive musical dictionary to help discover classical music.

All of the content meets state and national teaching standards. It’s a resource for teachers and students ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade.

WGUC also hosts Classics for Kids Live events that feature local musicians and community partners to bring musical discovery to the entire family.

WGUC and Classics for Kids showcase how public media radio stations leverage federal funding to help audiences discover music and provide educational resources for our community.

Chris Phelps, is VP of Content for Cincinnati Public Radio, 90.9 WGUC and 91.7 WVXU. An earlier version of this blog originally appeared on noncomMUSIC.org.