The Orlando Sentinel's blog for Central Florida's Moms and Dads, Parent Place had a nice post a week back (so much for timely blogging from me) about finding kid-friendly music that won't drive parents crazy. Definitely worth a read, and I'm not just saying that because they said nice things about this blog...really, I'm not.
I should add the caveat here that while I do write about and appreciate artists that the whole family will enjoy, I also write about artists that will likely drive parents a little crazy, including, yes, the Wiggles, Sesame Street, Mister Rogers, and the occasional Barney mention. And I have contributed to a couple of CDs (over in the left column there) which would fall into the "okay, that's enough dear, now it's time for Mommy and Daddy's music" category.
Personally, my musical tastes are all over the place. Professionally, I work educating kids from ages 2-12 and kids learning English as a Foreign Language, so I have an interest in music that communicates simply and allows even emerging speakers to participate. But essentially, I think you can't go wrong exposing your kids to as much music as possible, especially if you are there to enjoy it together.
For parents who may have the occasional urge to pull their hair out after listening to a few too many Barney tunes, I wholeheartedly recommend the strategy suggested by Orlando Sentinal Parent Place Blogger Steven Ford:
I burn songs I like and mix them with Disney tunes or kid sing-along tunes. That way, you might hear Radiohead, then "Wish Upon a Star" then Led Zep and then "Hot Potato" from the Wiggles, etc."
Growing up, my Dad used to make mixed tapes for the long car trips we would take in the summer. He made Kid's Tapes and Mom's Tapes, and we'd take turns throughout the trip. Truth is, we probably grew to enjoy the Boz Skaggs, Carly Simon, Lou Rawls, etc. almost as much as Mom probably did...but the Kid's Tapes were ours, and they spoke to us in a way Mom's tapes never could. We wanted to share in our Mom's love of music, but at that age, developing a sense of our own selves, having our own music was important. I remember occasionally feeling a little a bit of a thrill when I saw Mom didn't "get" some of the songs on our tapes. Here's one of the songs we liked, a nice call and response number everyone could enjoy.
I'll share more Kids' Songs in the coming weeks.