Children’s Music

I’ve got to start this entry with a back story,  so that you can bear witness to the thought process that made me arrive here, and how it relates to the title of this post. 

Harkening back (WAY BACK) to the days of my late teenage years, I worked for the Environmental Youth Corps. For those of you unfamiliar with the EYC (and I would think that is all of you except my MOM), this was a provincial government program that aimed to give jobs to snot-faced young people (aged 17-25) and the jobs were somehow considered to be “environmental”. If you’d like some incredibly boring reading, here is where the EYC gets a mention in the parliament. And by mention, I really do mean mention.

Each area had its own “crew” of about 6-8 people, with a leader or boss. Some crews rebuilt a stream known to house salmon. Some crews developed a children’s day camp about the environment. My crew drew and wrote and produced a handbook of local walking, hiking, horseback riding and biking trails. In order to accomplish this, we drove around in a rented 16 passenger van all day and went for coffee at McDonald’s every morning. Great idea, horrific execution. 

Anyway, neighbouring crews would occasionally do things together and once the crew in Nanaimo and my crew got together to take a first aid course. Fast forward a few months when I was living in my first fabulous apartment and working three (non-EYC) jobs to come up with my rent, and who walks into the video store where I was dusting movie boxes? A dude that I met at that first aid course. Through him a few weeks later, I met my first official real boyfriend who I dated for about two and a half years and who, when we broke up, is the reason I ran away to Vancouver. My, this is a complicated back story. Still with me?

When we were dating, he took me to a Barenaked Ladies concert at Beban Park Arena in Nanaimo. Since then, I have always liked the Barenaked Ladies, with their amusing complex lyrics and non-offensive music. I can’t say I am a member of their fan club, nor have I added them to my “favorites” on Facebook, but I like them enough that I know a lot of the lyrics, sing along, and don’t change the station when I hear a Barenaked Ladies song. I have a copy of their Christmas album and I will admit there is an MP3 or two of theirs in my music folder on my computer. 

I recently discovered that the Ladies have a new album out and this one is a children’s album featuring 24 new original songs aimed at kids. I keep meaning to buy it but keep forgetting. 

I don’t know about you guys, but I have some great memories of my early childhood of being in the car and singing kids’ songs. A lot of what I sang was songs from Brownies and Girl Guides, but there were other artists that I remember: Sharon, Lois, and Bram are one act I recall off the top of my head. 

Ross and I recently started thinking about music for Kale. While in utero, he listened to a lot of oldies and top 40, and now that he’s living la vida loca on the outside, he listens to generic radio a lot with me. We sign a lot – mostly I make up nonsense songs – but occasionally we sing known songs like “You Are My Sunshine”. Ross has compiled a few songs he likes, like “I Like To Sing-a (about the moon-a and the June-a and the spring-a etc)” and I also sing Neil Young’s “Love is a Rose” based on Ross’ suggestion. 

The other day I was driving around with Kale and I thought to myself that I really wished I had made a CD of songs he likes and / or songs that are appropriate for him. Or even better, a disc full of MP3s so that more would fit on it. I was thinking about that Barenaked Ladies’ album and how albums like that are destined to be home-listening only, because its not like your favorite radio station is EVER going to play a kids’ song on their precious airtime, right? And that got me thinking about a radio station specifically for kids. Or better yet, podcasts for kids’ music that could be downloaded and played on your car radio? 

Obviously, there are issues with advertising and the fact that you don’t want to expose your kids to advertising at young ages. But I think there is something there – because we can’t all listen to the same 20 songs OVER AND OVER AND OVER without thinking “If only I could get a new CD full of stuff without having to put the effort in”. 

Thoughts?

10 years ago

6 Comments

  1. I also really like Ray Charles’ “Mess Around”. I don’t know all the words yet but what an awesome song for babies. It has a fast tempo and piano/horn combo that just rules.

  2. BNL album Snacktime is a good album– we’ve had it for about a year now, I like all the songs but one. Our fav is Pollywog in a bog– we sang that alot when Caden was on the inside.
    Jenna now listens to what we listen too. Consquently, she knows most of the lyrics of Dave Matthews Band…
    SHe also likes Lenny Kravitz– “I wish that I could fly away, yeah yeah yeah!” She flaps her arms like Pegasus when that song is on.
    The beatles are also a good group with non- offensive lyrics- at least their earlier stuff– I wanna hold your hand etc.
    Jenna also likes Queen, and Kenny Loggins has a good kids album out- that is lullabyes. She also likes Sarah Mclaughlan, Kt Tunstall, etc.
    Altho Yes there is a drawback to listening to non-children specific music. We were listening to Imogene Heap and tra la la singing along, and later in the day jenna says “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?” — a direct quote from one of our fav songs on the album. LOL.

  3. We have the BNL disc but I have to say my boys love TMBG’s 123 and ABC albums FAR better. As do I. You’re right – if there isn’t a satellite radio station of all kids’ tunes, there should be. Idea! We can make mix discs of our fave kid-friendly stuff and trade? 🙂

  4. The library has the two Nettwerk kids’ albums (with BNL songs and more), and lots more traditional children’s music. You could start your search there. We have also found that folk-y music is great for kids because you can sing along. The seven-year-old is a huge fan of Johnny Cash.

    1. Folk is a big one here at our house because you are totally right, it is soooo easy to sing along. Why I didn’t even think of the library, I have no idea. Doy.

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