Many parents are trying to find music that will keep their children entertained, help them to grow musically and not drive mom and dad crazy. Good news! I’m here to help! Below are my guidelines for selecting great music, including some specific recordings you may want to consider to fill out your library! Please remember, these are just guidelines, and most music will not “obey all the rules”. What’s important is to keep these ideas in mind when picking out music for your child. Of course, your Musikgarten recordings take all of these things into consideration, so make sure they get a prize spot on your device!
Choose music in a range children can sing. Children have very small vocal cords, which is why their whines and screams are so ear-splitting! If you want your children to sing well, they need to hear songs that are in that high register. I really like Steve Songs! His natural tenor register is perfect for children to imitate an octave up.
Choose music played by real instruments. Your child will learn what a flute sounds like by listening to a flute. A synthesized flute will not give them the same experience. Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals is a huge hit with our Musikgarten kids!
Choose music with a proven track record. Traditional and folk music has lasted for so long for a reason. It’s good! Besides, grandparents love singing songs they recognize with your children! Elizabeth Mitchell chooses fabulous mix of old and new. I adore her.
Choose music YOU like. If it is annoying, it will not teach your children to love music. My kids and I all loved singing “Ob La Di Ob La Da” by the Beatles when they were little. Now Caspar Babypants (aka Chris Ballew from Presidents of the United States of America) has put out this gem of covers. It’s 2015. No one should have to listen to Barney or Elmo ever again.
Choose a wide variety of styles. When children are exposed to a wide variety of music (not just “children’s” music) the more comfortable they will be with different styles as they get older. Wouldn’t it be awesome if your child’s favorite musical group was Ladysmith Black Mambazo? The answer is yes, yes it would. And you are welcome.
Along this vein, My husband would also request I pick a great jazz album for your children. This album begins with Ella Fitzgerald and ends with Louis Armstrong. You cannot go wrong with those two.
Keep it simple. Children cannot discriminate through a lot of different sounds. A lot of loud, synthesized, music is very difficult for young children to process. I just discovered Justin Roberts, and, so far, he gets a thumbs up!
But, don’t be afraid to pass on your own musical heritage! If you love U2, Taylor Swift or Tim McGraw, your children will associate that with you, and hearing that music later will connect them to you. Just, no Miley for a while, ok?
The most important thing, though, is for your children to see you enjoying music. So relax! Enjoy some tunes together!