Seeking background music recommendations

We recently bought an electronic keyboard for our kids ages 8 and 11 based on their budding interest in piano. To my surprise they/we oddly enjoy playing the pre-recorded clips of music that came with it—some light jazz, a waltz that reminds me of a carousel, and other random songs. I have never been someone who seeks out musicians to listen to but I would like to find other instrumental (or vocal) music that we could play in the background when we’re reading or playing cards etc. Classical music is not so compelling to the kids and I’m not always in the mood for jazz. Any suggestions of artists to experiment with are welcome!

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Hi NightOwl, 

I play piano and love listening as well. I frequently put on tunes quietly in the background to provide a mood or just a little energy. Here are a few selections that my family has enjoyed.

Keith Jarrett - Improvised jazz piano - Specifically the Sun Bear recordings or Live recordings from the 70's. He has a HUGE and varied catalog, both jazz and classical.

Jann Tiersen - He wrote the soundtrack to Amelie, and has many lovely piano recordings that straddle classical/pop.

Brian Eno - Specifically "Music for airports" VERY soothing. Designed to be background "ambient" music.

There are a few that straddle that line between classical and jazz. I hope you'll enjoy!

All Best,


Hi again NightOwl,

I had one more thought - Vince Guaraldi. He was an SF native, most famous for the Charlie Brown theme song. He has some great stuff that's upbeat and bright, but not too jazzy, and certainly not too "classical." I know I loved the Linus and Lucy theme as a child.



I always listen to Paco de Lucia (or sometimes other flamenco guitarists) when I’m trying to do something that needs focus but also want music!

Working from home, I have found that I also enjoy some background music. And I agree with no classical! On iTunes, I listen to 2 playlists: Piano Chill and Pure Yoga. You may find artists that you enjoy through those playlists. I notice I’ve enjoyed Beauvois. I also enjoy George Winston and Alexis Ffrench. 
i also enjoy the playlists on the Headspace app. They are called Focus Music, and the playlists are created by different artists like John Legend, St Vincent, Eryka Badu. 

Not sure if you use Amazon Alexa - but it is helpful for finding 'similar songs' - and if you subscribe to music unlimited, you'll have access to millions of titles. 

At work I use AccuRadio to listen to various stations for free and have found lots of artists I've come to enjoy - and just a plug for classical - not all of it is Bethoven's 5th (which I confess I love), there are many contemporary artists doing amazing work (and anything by Debussy is just heavenly). Happy listening!