Film Music for Children: Harry Potter

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Film music is a great way into the world of ‘classical’ music for children. It is one of the few genres they will regularly listen to, which is often scored for a full orchestra, and that has no words. The best film music is subtle within the context of the film, but will be instantly recognisable, and has the ability to transport the listener instantly into the world created by the story. ‘Classical’ music often has a reputation amongst young people, but film music proves that this is far from true.

Children get very excited by hearing the film scores that they know! Over 15 years after the release of the first film, Harry Potter is one such score. Even now, it is probably the most requested piece by children when I ask them what they would like to learn to play on the piano. And I bet you would struggle to find any child over the age of 5 (or even younger in some cases) who doesn’t know and love this music.

Main Themes

The first three film scores were written by John Williams, and we find some of the most memorable themes in these:

Hedwig’s Theme

The most well-known of all the themes, this is used over and over throughout all the films. It represents anything magical, mystical, and wizarding!

Harry’s Wondrous World

A really hopeful and optimistic theme, used in the early films, before the subject matter became too dark! It is used to represent Harry Potter himself, as he enters the world of Hogwarts.

Voldemort’s Theme

A dark, creepy, evil theme – perfectly representing Harry Potter’s archenemy!

Harry Potter Music Activities

Watch the films

The first and most obvious way that you can enjoy the music together is by watching the films! There are 8 films in total, and the music gets more and more dark and intricate as they go along. John Williams only wrote the music for the first 3, but his main themes run throughout all of the film scores. The later films are less suitable for a young audience, but the first couple are great family films.*

Do the studio tour

Next, you could go and visit The Making of Harry Potter. The Warner Bros. studio tour is in Watford, London, and is a brilliant family day out! Luke actually took me for my birthday when I was 24 – this is a great playground for kids and adults alike. One of the greatest things about Harry Potter is that it has spanned several generations, so kids get just as excited about it now as we did 20 years ago.

Tickets are sold in allocated time slots, so it never gets too busy (definitely book in advance of your visit). It starts with a cinema experience, where the tour is introduced by some of the best loved characters. You then enter into the Great Hall to begin your tour. You can visit Diagon Alley, Privet Drive, the classrooms of Hogwarts, and many other places too. The intricacy of the films will blow your mind!

Watch Harry Potter in concert

So many orchestras have regular family nights, filled with great music – and Harry Potter is a firm favourite! Watching a live orchestra playing the music your child loves is such a magical experience. They will hear things they hadn’t picked out on the recorded tracks, and watching all of the musicians is inspiring. Harry Potter in Concert is currently touring the UK.

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