I’m a firm believer in playing great music for your children. I grew up listening to all decades, all genres and all artists, and even different languages. And I truly believe it made a difference in what kind of a perspective I have on music and the arts, and life in general today. My mix tapes used to have random combinations and friends would usually have something to say. Mostly curious and happy comments, sometimes confused, but still curious. I loved being able to introduce a friend to something they had never heard before and see their reaction.
Well, the same goes for my children.
Before the kids could understand lyrics, I was playing music I liked that had an awesome sound to it. The range was vast and my husband and I repeated certain songs often in order for them to hear the story in the song. The story? Yes. Every song has a story. Classical music is the easiest and best example of that. Case in point, Ponchielli’s ‘Dance of The Hours’ in Disney’s first Fantasia film. If my children hear certain classical songs today, they will not be able to sit still and their dances depict the tone of the music they hear.
For years, starting at the age of four, I took piano lessons. And starting out I remember my teacher asking me “what do you hear?” when he would play the piece for me. It was a way of getting to hear the tone of the music in order to gauge my strength while playing. Now I find myself asking my children “what do you hear?” and the answers are awesome!
I’m not a mama that plays radio or background music for the kids. No, and here’s why: I am the type of person who cannot listen to a song without hearing the words. I will eventually know the words off by heart and I used to say all the time in school that if my history, geography and science classes had been put to music I would have been top of the class! That being said, I can already see that my children are questioning things they hear. I don’t want the slutty music off the radio to be one of them. Not yet, anyway. Instead I play the classic kids’ music I listened to as a child, new (not too annoying) kids’ music, along with happy and inspirational adult music.
I know some mamas cringe at the thought of having to listen to kids’ music day in and day out. This is why I think it’s important as a parent to go outside your normal comfort zone with music and explore! It couldn’t be easier now with www.itunes.com. The tangents that each search can bring you are astounding, and usually well worth it in my experience.
A gym teacher inspired me to think even further outside the box. One of my children takes a creative movement class, and the teacher is amazing with her music and activity combination. I must have heard Bjork’s ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ a million times, but I never thought to play that one for the kids. She made it into a great game of opposites. When the song was loud, they were to run all over the place and dance and have fun. When the song was quiet they had to get back to the center and keep quiet and slow. Genius!
Here’s An Idea
I am planning a birthday party for my children in the near future. In keeping with the mix tape theme I seem to be on, I have decided to add a DIY mix cd in the children’s loot bag. It really doesn’t cost much, and the cover could be a cute remembrance of the party itself. Of course I will play this music during the party to get the kids listening. Maybe it will give other families some new songs in their repertoire for road trips and family time.
In the next week, I will compile the list of songs for that cd. What are your favourite songs, children or adult related? Let me know and I may just list them here next week!
In the meantime, here are some to get you moving and thinking outside your comfort zone:
Maceo Parker – Pass The Peas
Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling
Manu Chao – Bongo Bong
Us3 – Canteloop
The Four Tops – I Can’t Help Myself
Martha Reeves – Dancing In The Street
Sergio Mendes – Magalenha
You get the idea. Listen to these and see what strikes you – then start your own search and let me know what you find!