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Organizing Your Classical Music CDs

Organizing My Classical Music with Colored Dots – From My Archives


As you can imagine, I own a large number of classical music CDs. Between homeschooling my four children and researching and preparing the plans for Harmony Fine Arts, I have quite the collection.

Back in 2008 when I originally shared my tips for organizing music CDs, I had not yet made the leap to listening to music online using streaming or playlists. Things have changed! But, I thought I would repost this organizing idea just in case there are families that find themselves with a growing classical music CD collection.


As far as storage, I use the GNEDBY shelf from IKEA. It is large enough to hold even my huge collection of music! It historically sat right next to my science shelf (also from IKEA). Now I have it close to my desk so I can pop in a CD while I work.

Using Colored Dots to Organize Your Classical Music Collections

I tried organizing the CDs alphabetically but that soon fell apart as CDs were quickly re-shelved at the end of the week.

I came up with the idea for organizing the music into the four year cycles of history as explained in The Well-Trained Mind. I took my CDs and divided them up by composer time period. I took some colored dots that I had from the office supply store and gave each time period a different color.

Here is my colored dot system:
Medieval-early Renaissance 400-1600 =red dot
Late Renaissance-early Modern 1600-1850 =green dot
Modern -blue dot

Now all I had to do was to go through and look at the composer’s dates, adhere a dot to the outside spine of the CD case, and then group like colors on the shelf.

Sometimes the dots don’t stick very well so I go back with a colored Sharpie and just make a dot on the spine of the CD case.

This has saved me loads of time over the years. I could usually remember a composer’s time period and then scan the CDs with the appropriate dot on the spine. It’s a simple system that works for our family. Even if the CDs get mixed up on the shelf, I can easily shuffle them around back into some sort of order within a minute or two.

Note I use Amazon affiliate links in this entry to products I use and recommend.

More Classical Music Tips

Build Your Classical Music LibraryThis page shares my tips for building a basic classical music library for your family.

Learn About Composers the Easy Way – This post shares a valuable music appreciation resource that I have used in my own family and in the Harmony Fine Arts plans.


Harmony Fine Arts Purchase Now button

Are you looking for premade plans for listening to composers by time period? I invite you to take a look at my Harmony Fine Arts program to see if it’s a good fit for your family. There are sample weeks under the “sample” tab on the website. You can also download a chart that gives you more details about composers included in each year plan.

Overview Chart -grades 1-12 general descriptions
Artist & Composer List – Grades 1-4 – specific artists and composers
Artist & Composer List – Grades 5-8 – specific artists and composers

Music Monday is Retiring

Music Monday on Harmony Fine Arts Join us every Monday for a new musical selection.

After much thought and deliberation, I have decided to no longer offer Music Monday here on the Harmony Art Mom blog. I have enjoyed sharing music each week with you over the years but because of reduced time available for my online work, I will be eliminating it from my weekly postings.

I will be continuing to host the Sketch Tuesday assignments and slideshows though so please feel welcome to join that at any time!

If you are looking for a plan for listening to great music, you may wish to check out the Harmony Fine Arts plans available for grades 1-8 and even for high school!

You can look at a sample of a Harmony Fine Arts music appreciation plan by clicking this link and then scrolling down to page 9: Harmony Fine Arts Grade 1 Sample.


Learn About Composers the Easy Way

Classical Music Start-Up Kit

Learn About Composers the Easy Way

Music Appreciation For All Ages

Classical Music Start Up Kit from Naxos @harmonyfinearts

Harmony Fine Arts for high school includes the use of the Classical Music Start-Up Kit Volumes 1 and 2. This is a resource all homeschooling families should have on their library shelf for a quick and painless music appreciation and music history lesson.

The CD case says, “Everything you need to introduce you to the world of classical music.” I completely agree that these CDs and the accompanying booklet (tucked into the CD cover) are a valuable set of CDs to own and use over and over again.

Here’s what I wrote in my original post about the Classical Music Start-Up Kit back in 2006!

“They call it a kit but really it’s just a CD with a booklet instruction manual. You can just listen and enjoy the selections or you can pull out the booklet and read about the composer, the time period, and the music itself. I had my boys listen to the CD several times and then we went back and read a bit about what we were listening to after they had some exposure to the music.

We listen to the music in the car while we’re driving to our appointments or classes. I put the music on when they’re working on art projects. I listen to the music during the day while I work on the computer. You’d be surprised at how many times you can find to listen to one or two of the selections each day.”

I just noticed that both of these CDs are now available as part of Amazon Prime and Amazon’s Unlimited Streaming Plan.

Harmony Fine Arts High School Music Appreciation Plans are Free to Download.

High School art and music

The plans for Harmony Fine Arts high school art and music appreciation are some of the most popular plans I offer in my store. You may wish to take a look at them as a flexible plan to use with your older students for a quick music appreciation/history course.

You can click over to the high school plan page on my website to see the resources needed for Harmony Fine Arts high school music plans: Harmony Fine Arts High School.

Please note that I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small commission. I purchased my own copies of these resources and highly recommend them after using them personally with my own children.


Frequently Asked Questions

How many credits do you give for Harmony Fine Arts music appreciation plans?

My answer: As far as credits, you will need to decide by the time spent completing the plans to know how to allocate high school credit. Normally, I suggest giving one complete credit for completion of all 4 years of the art plans and one complete credit for completion of all 4 years of the music appreciation. But, how to count the credit depends on the state you live in and their requirements.

Do you have younger children?

Would you like to read in more detail my thoughts on owning and using these CDs with younger children? I wrote a more thorough review back in 2009 for the Curriculum Choice. You can click over and read it there: Classical Music Start-Up Kit on Curriculum Choice.



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