Monday, April 21, 2008

Mama Mondays: Music

OK, so this is another Mama Monday topic that I absolutely cannot pass up! (For those of you who are totally at a loss for what I'm talking about--don't feel bad--I am often in your court! Erin started Mama Mondays, and when I can, I do a buddy post. See here for my buddy post on reading books.)

Music is (and always has been) a big part of my life. I sang as a child and teen at church, got a degree in music, and eventually became a music teacher. I come from a family of musicians and married a musician from a family of musicians. Music is simply etched into the canvas of our lives. Obviously, I have an opinion about music!

When it comes to Anna, I refuse to allow her to listen to music that I cannot stomach. After all, why should children have to listen to music that isn't good enough for adults?!? So the general rule since she was born has been that she listens to whatever I listen to which could be different on any given day depending on my mood. And she enjoys almost everything Brandon and I do--classical, rock, pop, country, jazz, folk/bluegrass, praise and worship... Keeping all this in mind, I do NOT buy "children’s" music, as I have found most of it to be cheesy and/or of very poor musical quality. The only exception is a CD that she listens to every night. It came with a Bible promise book she received for her first birthday and it's fantastic. Not only is the music good, but all the lyrics are from the Bible (the book gives the verses) and the children usually have good singing technique. Another CD Anna enjoys that is also pleasing to my grow-up ears is Sing Over Me. (Click the link for a cool preview of the ablum.) It has good songs, good singers, and good arrangements.

Right now, her favorite song is "Shiftwork" by Kenny Chesney. (I think it has something to do with the long vowel they hold out in the chorus--it's easy for her to sing along. And the fun island sound.) She also asks to sing the Rubber Ducky song (from Ernie on Sesame Street) and the Elmo's World song. (She can sing that one too.)

Since I don't buy kiddie music, I can't really recommend any kiddie CDs, but I can definitely tell you what I dislike. My number one dislike would probably be the Baby Einstein CDs. (Baby Beethoven, Baby Mozart, etc.) Basically, they’ve remade the classics for synthesizer so it sounds like they’re playing the songs on a toy piano. My question is this: if you are going to play classical music for your child, why not get the real thing? It will certainly sound better and offer more opportunities for your child to learn different instruments and about dynamic contrast. When Anna and I listen to classical music, I point out different sounds to her (that was a trumpet) and moods (happy, sad) and dynamics (loud, soft). I don't worry about talking over her head--she'll get it eventually.

Second on my list of things to beware is a child (or children, or anyone!) singing poorly. On a lot of kiddie CDs, I've heard children singing more than slightly out of tune or at the top of their lungs (yelling), which, in my opinion, is not doing children any favors when it comes to their musical education. (And probably annoying you in the process!)

Overall, I think quality is most important, no matter what the genre. If you listen to music that moves you, it will probably move and delight your child. To summarize:
1. Avoid the Baby Einstein CDs and buy real classical music.
2. Make sure the music you’re buying is quality music.
3. Listen to music you enjoy with your child.

Please feel free to leave a comment or suggestion—I’m always on the prowl for new music!

1 comment:

Angela said...

I so agree on the annoying kids' music! There is so much bad stuff out there that I have just given up on finding anything.

Thank you!