Parental musical advice

xrayspx's picture

I'm pretty much unqualified to give anyone advice on any topic, but this is the best parental advice I can give:

Don't let people insult your kids and drive you insane with crappy childrens music.

A friend posted that she felt bad because she may have waited too long to buy tickets to The Wiggles. As a non-child-owner, I of course had to interject with my option:

It's OK, you can get these instead, with the benefit of it being Real Music:

Looks like 2 shows in Concord on the 26th. I say "Real Music" meaning "Music that might not make one have to drink heavily before attending"

More comments from other people followed in the vein of "It's probably your brain trying to protect your heart from your ears".

You shouldn't feel like you need to give your kids music you hate just because you don't want to give them adult music, or want them to learn how to share or whatever. I am a bad example here again because when I was 4, my parents were buying me Kiss and Foreigner records, so they failed on both the "good music" and "lesson" parts. The thing with Dan Zanes, Pete Seeger, TMBG and the rest are that they create good songs first, and then gear them toward your kids. Songs adults won't hate, and which will give the kids an appreciation for decent music.

The Wiggles is not decent music.

So much of the kids music I hear once and never again is insulting to kids and shows no desire to give them something to listen to aside from whatever idiotic lesson they're trying to teach for those 3 minutes.

A couple of observations as a non child-owner:

  • If you feel like you should bring an ear-sized shrimp fork to a concert "just in case", you are not taking your kids to see a good band.
  • Kids will listen to what you give them, regardless of what that is.
  • If you give kids good music, they will appreciate music more later
  • Whatever your preference in music, there /IS/ something there that's "kid-appropriate". Yes even Industrial, Metal, fucking clown-core or whatever.
  • This probably all contributes to why I shouldn't be a parent

Even leaving the children's music genre behind, what's wrong with playing things like the Bosstones, Zeppelin, Dresden Dolls, Skrillex, Deadmaus, Leonard Cohen or whatever else /you/ like, which would also be fun an interesting for the kid to listen to? If you don't want them hearing "fuck", don't play the probably one song on whatever CD has it. If you don't want Leonard Cohen singing about anal sex and being tied to a chair, play Hallelujah for the trillionth time or I'm Your Man instead.

I know most people do a good mix, but I hear a ton of complaints from parents who can only listen to Wiggles-type stuff, and who want to kill themselves, and are surprised when I'm like "Well, don't play it if you don't want, make them like the music /you/ like. They're just little, you can program them, like a calculator. Probably easier, actually".

Good music:

  • Dan Zanes - If you grew up in New England, are old enough to have kids, and don't know the Del Fuegos, well, why are we friends?
  • Pete Seeger - There isn't any children's music more fun than Pete Seeger's kids songs. Especially if you want your children to grow up to be good union backing crusaders for equality and freedom.
  • Stax artists - You get Sam and Dave, Booker T & the MGs, Isaac Hayes and loads more with that Stax sound (since so many of them are backed by the MGs or Bar-Kays). In fact, during the Stax tour we were just ahead of a woman and two little kids. The little boy, maybe 5 or 6, was like "Is that Really Tina Turner's dress? She wore that?", he then wore himself out on the little dance floor dancing to like Proud Mary.
  • Any hardcore music - It's fast, kids like it, if the lyrics are comprehensible, they're not too bad usually
  • Pretty much any electronic music - This would be easy to get lazy with, but jungle (DJ Acucrack, Prodigy), dubstep. Avoid ambient, it's boring to us, it's gotta be boring to them.
  • I'm seriously conflicted about Rockabye Baby Records, on the one hand I can see putting an infant in a crib with it, on the other hand, well, it sounds like mobile music for infants in cribs. Graduate them to the real artists. We actually have the Tool and NIN ones. The Tool one is creepy as fuck and 100x scarier than just actually playing Tool. Doubly so since we don't have kids. That, and who needs a "lullaby version" of Dave Matthews?

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