Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Finding Good Kids Music

Looking for music ideas for your kids? I’ve been of the I’m-sorry-I-just-can’t-hear-little-kids-sing-in-a-chorus school for some time now. Some kids singing: very cute. A whole passle with a bad synthesizer in the background: please no.

I’m not talking here about how to choose music that ensures your kid will be good at math. I’m talking about surviving the car ride of your current life with your children in the background saying, "I want my favorite song again.” (Which, at our house, is—for some reason—Natalie Merchant singing “Hey Jack Kerouac.” I don't know either.)

I’m talking about finding music that will create spontaneous family sing-alongs. This can be any music, but some music seems better suited than other music. (Who wants to sing Christina Aguilera with their kidlets? "I'm a genie in a bottle baby" . . . um. never mind.)

Here’s a list of music that’s made for sing-alongs and dance-alongs at our house:


Dan Zanes (the grand Pooh-Bah of the family music movement)

Or take a look at the cdbaby.com kids/family music page. Lots of good independent artists here--and they all have sound clips so you can listen around.

WHATEVER MUSIC YOU LIKE (unless it’s KISS—or mini-KISS for that matter.) At our house, that’s big band, old country and (lately) Cuban:

Louis Armstrong My son: “Is this the cookie monster?”

Omara Portuondo Great for dancing in the living room.

All the Putamayo mixes are great: we love the Cuba. You can’t listen to this music and remain grumpy. It sweeps it all away.


Sometimes to pull the energy down (and I mean by that: get them to stop hitting each other over and over again), we declare the mood shift with soothing music like these mixes:
Latin Lullaby and Brazillian Lullaby. A mix of artists—all beautiful.

We like opera music too. The Three Tenors are a good place to start for this kind of music.

Any kind of classical music that settles you will also settle them. I’m a big fan of those cheap mixes you can buy anywhere. It doesn’t have to say “Mozart for Babies” to be right for babies . . . but sometimes those are the ones you get for gifts, so go ahead and listen to them. They still count as real classical music (even if there’s a picture of a baby with a wand on the front.)

Final Note: remember, I’m not at all qualified to make recommendations of any kind: I’m not a doctor. I have a Maaaaaaaaaaaaster’s Degree . . . in English.

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