VIOLIN virtuoso Nicola Benedetti has criticised parents who let their children play video games, saying they should listen to classical music instead -- whether they like it or not.

The Ayrshire musician said: "It actually really upsets me when people say: 'Kids hate listening to a symphony, why should we do that to them?'

"I think, hang on a minute, if you were to turn round and say to kids: 'Would you like to play video games or would you like to have a maths lesson?'

"Of course they're going to go for the video games.

The 27-year-old famously secured a £1million recording deal at the age of 17, after winning BBC Young Musician of the Year at age 16.

Then in 2012 she brought classical music to a different kind of audience when she performed on the main stage at T in the Park. Last year she performed to a global audience when she took part in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

A graduate of the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin School, she said her own early experiences helped shape her dedication as an adult.

The performer said that the trend of "dumbing-down" meant today's children were being short-changed.

"Children should be exposed to anything that has the sophistication and breadth of unbelievable content that classical music does, just as I think they should be exposed to the greatest books ever written," she said.

She added: "Needing the child's approval for what they do in school is just such an alien concept when you're talking about maths, science, history or English, but suddenly, when you bring music into the mix, it's: 'Oh no, we can't should them anything that they don't instantly love because that would be like forcing children into something that they don't want to to'.' It just bemuses me."