January 12, 2011

A Musical Education

One of my favorite things to do with the boys is listen to music. While we go about our daily business, we listen to all kinds of things: Roma di Luna, the Amelie soundtrack, The Flaming Lips, Andrew Bird, Tori Amos, Fleet Foxes, etc.

But we don't listen to kids music. I haven't been able to go there yet. To me it's a bit like going over to the dark side, inviting the presence of all these annoying songs into the house. Yes, I know there is cool kids music out there - not to mention all the cool lullabies - but I don't guess that's what I'm really talking about.

When I was pregnant with Charlie, I discovered a free download of this album and jumped on it. My thoughts at the time were "Awesome! Charlie will love this!" And then I had a listen and decided that traditional kids music is not for me. So I avoid it if I can. And perhaps that makes me a bad parent, but I don't care. Charlie and Simon will have plenty of exposure to all those songs as they get older and go to daycare or preschool. In the meantime, they are getting a wonderful musical education through me. They're hearing important and valuable songs (like this one) from all genres of music, and perhaps these songs will continue to swim under the surface of their minds as they get older. That's my hope, anyway.

When we were little, my brother and I loved to listen to my mom and dad's records. And now all I have to do is turn on this song, and I am transported back into the living room of my childhood home. A simpler time. I had no idea what the song really meant, but I loved Kenny Rogers' voice juxtaposed with the popping of the record. (Yes, I am a Kenny Rogers lovin' nerd. I love his beard. I have never tried his chicken, though - have you?) I hear that song now and think of rain and adventure and our big, warm house. If I think about it for a long time, I'm led back to my love for The Goonies, our family dog Pepper, and one particularly muddy patch in our yard where my brother and I played GI Joes.

I just don't have that kind of attachment to the kids songs that I listened to as a kid (this was a favorite album) - I can remember all the words to this album, for example, but they don't evoke the same kinds of fuzzy memories for me. And honestly, I think kids can get just as much out of an adult version of a song like "Puff the Magic Dragon". And I'm selfish. I like listening to my music. I think it's awesome. And if I end up having to listen to "Do You Realize?" on repeat for a whole day because that's what Charlie wants to hear, that's a hell of a lot better than listening to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."

I gotta say, though, that after hearing so much about Yo Gabba Gabba, I went searching around the web and listened to "There's a Party in my Tummy." And it was quite cute. And catchy. A little too catchy, because that's all I heard in my head for the rest of the day. I'm kind of glad we don't have a TV.

I like Jason Schwartzman's approach to building a music library for his daughter:

Makes me want to save my pennies for a record player.

Pssst, you can download that Chipmunks album I mentioned above for free right here! You know I did.


phairhead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phairhead said...

hee hee, i deleted my own comment because I missed the link to TMBG science CD

OMG! I have fond memories of Psalty from 4th & 5th grade
awesome sauce :D

sherthebear said...

We didn't have any children's music CDs until a couple weeks ago (except for an instrumental lullaby CD we play at bedtime). We would play all kind of other music; from Country to hip hop to Stevie Wonder and even Spanish. But recently we were at a friend's house and she had kid's music playing and Jordyn really seemed to like it so I gave in and downloaded the music. I think she liked that it was kids voices singing, she asks me for more when a song is done and dances and sings along to some of the songs now. So I guess we just started to incorporate kids music at our house. But Dylan never play kids music when he is around and she loves to dance to all music. So she is getting it all.

I agree that kids get as much from adult music as well. Listen to what you enjoy, the boys will enjoy it too. The kids music only goes on for a short period of time at our house, I think I would go crazy if I played it all day LOL.

Eric's Mommy said...

Eric never listened to kid's music unless it was the freakin Wiggles, he was so into them. Even when I was pregnant I made the point of cranking my favorite songs in the car hoping he could hear them (especially Tori).