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November is Kid Music month! Next week, Lissa Schneckenburger helps us gear up for Thanksgiving travel with kids in tow. And on this Election day, which is all about CHOICE, Matt Heaton shares ideas on where/how to find good music to listen to with kids. He encourages us to choose only music that really feeds both kids AND parents.

Inspiring another Generation A Guitarist

Inspiring another Generation A Guitarist

Repeat after me: There is no reason for your child to hear bad music.

We live in a golden age of music for younger listeners. And there is plenty that is enjoyable for both your child AND you. (No more Chipmunk Punk!) Besides, don’t you want your kid to grow up with great rhythmic swagger?

OK, no bad music. Fine, you say. But where do I find the good stuff?? Glad you asked! Here are a few resources:

The Internet

There are many, MANY blogs and podcasts dedicated to good children’s music. Pro Tip: the term “Kindie” has come to represent good, creative music for children. It’s a good search term. The websites Zooglobble and Swing Whistle Zing are dedicated to finding good kids music. Spare the Rock and Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl are podcasts which do the curating for you. There are many more great kid music resources. Just start digging!

Your Old Favorites
Did you grow up listening to “Free to Be You and Me?” Or the Sesame Street records? Great news: they are still fantastic! For added retro appeal, go to a used record store and comb the children’s music bins. If you have a turntable, your child will be amazed that music comes out of that big black circle. And when your child is old enough (5 or 6?), don’t miss out on watching the first few seasons of the Muppet show. Comedic brilliance for young and old.

Adult Artists
Many musicians become inspired to make music for children after they themselves become parents. That’s what happened to me! As a result, there are tons of great children’s music records by bands you may love already. They Might Be Giants, Medeski Martin & Wood, Rani Arbo, Barenaked Ladies, Jewel, Laura Veirs, and Doc Watson all have great kid albums. I love flipping through the children’s music CDs at any library I enter. You never know what you’ll find.

And before you head to your local library to pick up some great kid music, listen to this great clip on what children’s librarian Sam Sednek has say about the power of stories in an early September post.

Here are a few of my favorite kid albums. I mentioned a few of these in an earlier guest post:

img_2596Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem: Ranky Tanky
Caspar Babypants: Here I Am! and Hot Dog
Free to Be You and Me
Gustafer Yellowgold: we started with Wide Wild World, and love all the CD/DVD sets
Jungle Book soundtrack
Medeski, Martin & Wood: Let’s Go Everywhere
Muppet Hits
Natalie Merchant: Leave Your Sleep (+ book of stories/poems)
Okee Dokee Brothers: Can You Canoe?
Gerry Paul: Tales from the Sea and an Elephant Tree
The Pop Ups: Radio Jungle
Prokofiev’s Peter & the Wolf (we like Jack Lemmon as narrator)
Schoolhouse Rock
Recess Monkeys: Deep Sea Diver
They Might Be Giants: No! and Why!
Laura Veirs: Tumblebee

And a special shout out to a few of the great kid artists right in Boston: Karen K and the Jitterbugs... Alastair Moock…  and Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys

Editor’s note: also check out Matt’s great kid albums!

Not just kid artists
If someone came to stay with you from another planet, what would you play for him or her or it or they or splork? Retro goodness from The Police, the Talking Heads, XTC? Dance-floor power pop from Walk the Moon (and maybe loudly sing “get up and dance” during the shut up part…)? The Beatles? Beethoven? You get to introduce your young aliens to pop culture. It’s your right and a responsibility–just like voting! Have fun with it!

Looking outside of your own collection–and reuniting with your very favorite music–can yield hours of enjoyment for your child, and perhaps more importantly, you! There is no reason to listen to anything you don’t like. There will be plenty of time for that when your child is 12….

So… what’s YOUR favorite album or song to listen to with kids?

Matt Heaton has degrees in music performance and has performed Irish traditional music around the globe. But the 5-and-under set has been his most honest, open, and challenging audience yet. Matt is constantly inventing ways to connect with and learn from young people and their parents. His two albums for children (Happy You Made It and Toddlerbilly Riot) are humorous, educational, and well-produced. And they show how “kid” music can also just be GOOD music.

In the Boston area? Be sure to save the date for Matt’s big February Coolidge Corner show (Sunday Feb 26th at 10am… plenty of advance warning!!!!! Also, keep an eye out for his forthcoming Money Planet, an album of songs to teach kids about money and economics, and to stimulate lively dinner conversation for the whole family.


Leap, Little Frog

a musician's musings on nesting, being creative, traveling, and parenting