Five (Free) Apps for Listening to Classical Music

When you walk into our home, I can guarantee you that what you will probably hear is classical music. We listen to it nearly all day long. I have already told you that it is so important for children to listen to classical music. One thing that I didn’t mention, though, is simply the aspect of it being good cultural enrichment. Just like I will not be satisfied if my children do not know the great classics in literature or art, it is equally important that they know who composers are, what their major works are, and who some of the greatest musicians of all time are. That is just part of being an educated, cultured person.

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to do this is by listening to great classical radio programs. You can do this on internet or download the apps. They are all free so there is no excuse to starting to add classical music to your lives.

Some of the benefits of using these apps are:

  • You do not need to purchase huge amounts of recordings to get a well rounded diet of classical music.
  • You will have variety. You might be tempted to listen to a particular work that you love over and over, but with stations like these you will get everything from solo instrumental works, orchestral works, string ensembles, choral works, etc.
  • You will learn interesting facts. While these primarily play music all day, they do give a little information or interesting anecdotes about the composer or work. I am also certain that this is how Stefan knows the terms like concerto, sonata, and many composer names. He just sort of takes it in without even realizing it.
  • It is easy and free. There is nothing easier than clicking the app and immediately having world class performances of great classical literature for your listening pleasure.

You will notice that two of the stations are French. This is because we are trying to teach our children French and this is a subtle way that we can include French in our day. They hear the titles and composers in French in a beautiful accent and they know that someone other than Mommy speaks French. :) If you are trying to include a foreign language in your lives (which is a really good thing!) you could find a station of the language that you want.

Our Current Favorites:

1. WGBH Boston – This station features a large variety of repertoire. Each weekday morning (8:30 am EST) they have Keith’s Classical Corner where Keith Lockhart, music director of the Boston Pops, gives a brief summary of a work and tells you what to listen for. Each Saturday night they have live Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts. The free app.

2. Minnesota Public Radio – They have a large amount of choral repertoire (Minnesota is a hotbed for choral music). We also love their Performance Today Program which features concerts recorded live during the past week around the country. It helps us stay up to date with what is happening in the classical music world. They often interview classical musicians which is very interesting. The free app.

3. Classic FM London – This station includes a lot of great English choral works including Renaissance works, and modern composers such as Rutter. It also often features classically-styled film music which is a unique feature. The free app.

4. Radio Suisse Classique (Switzerland) – This is in French and has absolutely no advertisements. The free app. (I am listening to this one as I write :) )

5. Radio Classique (France) – This is in French and has absolutely no advertisements. The free app.

Download one of these apps and start listening to classical music. Maybe just start by listening in the evenings after dinner or when you are slowing down for the day. There is nothing like ending the day with gorgeous music. I am doing it right now. It is so soothing after a full day of activity. Or maybe you could turn it on when you are commuting, or at breakfast to start your day. It doesn’t matter when, just start adding it into your day!


  1. What a treasure of a post–thank you, thank you!!!!!

  2. What a helpful post! My husband (a music teacher) feels the same way about classical music as well. We played it often for our first-born daughter when she was a baby ( during her entire 6 month hospitalization that followed her birth) and into her toddler years. As a result she can identify almost every instrument she hears played in orchestral settings (even down to the difference between similar sounding instruments: cello v violins, clarinet v. oboe, etc.) Though I’m sure her keen sense of hearing–a result of her visual impairment–helps immensely I do give most of the credit to the early listening of classical music

    Unfortunately, for no reason in particular, listening to classical music has not been as much of a priority for us recently. Reading this post encourages me to begin listening on a regular basis again and I appreciate you sharing such a simple (and FREE!) way to do so! =)

    I even plan to email the link to this post to my husband since I know he’ll enjoy reading it for himself =)

    • It really does make a difference when they hear music as a baby. I hope you enjoy getting back into listening!

  3. Thanks for these; I’m excited to check them out.

  4. Thanks! We use Pandora for a variety of genres (although a rather small variety right now), but hadn’t thought of looking for something like this.

    • Pandora is nice. Groove Shark allows you to pick entire cd’s which is nice as well especially if you know exactly what cd you are wanting to listen to. So many options! Love the internet age. :)

  5. Hi! I was reading older posts (I came across your blog around April so I’m still catching up) :) My dad has always listened to Radio Suisse Classique and we always loved it – no advertisments as you say and this beautiful French (and some German also, right?) Thanks for another great and very useful post.


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