Weaning Kids from Children's Music
Have you started having nightmares about being trapped in a Raffi concert? Maybe it's time to help your kids transition to something a little more sophisticated. Here are a few things that helped our kids expand their musical horizons.
1. Make a custom collection of your favorite music for the kids, either on CDs (using your computer) or by recording from your CDs or LPs to cassettes. We choose mostly simple, upbeat songs. Each collection includes a variety of artists and musical styles. We make new CDs regularly for our kids, with their newest favorites intermixed with songs they haven't heard yet. The kids seem more willing to listen to a mix than to a whole album by one artist. Plus, having CDs made just for them has helped them bridge the "our music, parent's music" gap. Programs such as MusicMatch (about $20.00 at http://www.musicmatch.com ) and iTunes (free at http://www.apple.com/itunes ) make CD creation much easier. Windows Media Player, included with Windows computers, also lets you burn CDs.
2. Explain song lyrics. We find that when we explain what a song is about, the kids are more likely to enjoy the song. For example, we might say, "They guy in the song had a girlfriend but she decided she loved someone else so now he's sad." Then we give a few examples of how singer expresses the story with particular lyrics, explaining some of the idioms, expressions and metaphors.
3. Talk about the instruments. Our kids have come to enjoy picking out the sounds of familiar instruments. When you hear one you recognize, tell them about it. If you're home, try to find a picture of the instrument to show them. Explain what you like about a particular part of the music.
4. Express your honest enthusiasm. Pick songs you love, and love them out loud. Say, "Oh, I love where that guy with the really low voice comes in!" or "Here's a really funny part!" Enthusiasm really is contagious.