Age appropiate music for children

appropriate music for children, music, children, age

This generation has been spared Come on Eileen. Instead they get Gangnam Style and Blurred Lines.

I was inspired to write this post after one of my blog’s regular readers contacted me privately. I was asked whether I had an opinion on age appropriate music for children. The short answer is yes, I do, although I don’t think it’s a black and white issue.

Like many families with young children, we are presently in the midst of a Frozen phase. My wife recently bought a CD of the soundtrack to keep our two daughters entertained while driving up to Scotland. It was a huge hit. Toddler Adams now associates driving with the Soundtrack and every time she’s placed in her car seat she demands “Go” be placed on the stereo (that’s toddler shorthand for the song Let it Go).

There have been two unexpected benefits to allowing this irritatingly catchy music into our lives. Firstly, Helen, our eldest daughter, will happily sit down with the the CD liner notes so she can read the words and sing them. Result; she’s getting to practice her reading skills. As the kids also want to listen to the soundtrack in the house, Mrs Adams, whose IT skills aren’t always the best, has learned how to use Spotify.

Both kids love the music, they’re dancing, singing and in the case of Helen, practicing her reading skills. Mrs Adams, meanwhile, has familiarised herself with technology she hadn’t previously used. It strikes me the Frozen soundtrack is appropriate for people of all ages!

On the subject of Frozen, if I had a son, I’d be telling him to be very wary of any woman that demanded to be “taken up North Mountain” shortly after meeting her. The writers were definitely having fun when they inserted that little nugget into the Frozen script (apologies if you’ve never seen the film and have no idea what I’m on about. Suffice it to say the schoolboy in me finds that particular scene hilarious).

It goes without saying the issues arise when children listen to music not intended for them. I know of a dad that has banned MTV in his household having discovered his pre-school aged daughter copying sexually charged dance moves she’d seen on the small screen.

Word of advice to anyone reading this; do not ever, ever play the talentless Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines in the presence of my children. I’m really not a prude but the lyrics to that so-called song make me wince. If you want to listen to that rubbish, fine, please do, but do not introduce my children to it.

Who hasn’t been to a kids party that’s featured Psy’s Gangnam style? Is the chorus line of “Hey sexy lady” appropriate for young kids? With two daughters, the one concern I had was the message it sent them about being women. Then again, you can take these things too far. It required a “sexy lady” for the two of them to come into this world. Sticking this on Spotify will keep them entertained for ages as they dance round the living room so I have made my peace with this terrible example of electro pop. Just don’t expect me to copy the dance.

As I write this, another example springs to mind. A short while ago I was playing a Queen CD on the car stereo. It was a live show and Freddie Mercury was encouraging the audience to sing along to the chorus of a song and sing some scales. At the end he said; “You buggers can sing higher than I can.”

You can probably imagine what happened next. A little voice piped up from the back seat; “Daddy he said buggers. What does buggers mean?”

That, my friends, is a very awkward word to explain to a young child. I simply told her it was a swear word and that she mustn’t say it, especially at school. At this she told me about one of her classmates who has apparently been heard using coarser language at school.

In answer to the question I was originally asked, I don’t think there are hard and fast rules. You can’t go too far wrong listening to music made intentionally for children. The problem being it’s just so dull. On the other hand, you have to select adult music carefully.

What’s your opinion, do you police the music your children listen to? Am I a philistine for failing to recognise the cultural benefits Psy and Robin Thicke have bought to the world? Do you let your children watch MTV?

I’ve linked this post to HonestMum’s #BrilliantBlogPosts linky. Do pay it a visit to see what other wonderful bloggers have been up to.

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8 Comments

    • John Adams
      Author
      August 7, 2014 / 12:09 pm

      Tom, I know every word to every Frozen song.

      I just happen to know every word to Bohemian Rhapsody as well.

  1. August 7, 2014 / 12:36 pm

    I guess I’m not at the stage where I’m too worried – N is 3.5y and it takes him a while to pick up lyrics so they’re not actually a blur. Maybe I should start thinking more about son lyrics as we always play the radio in the car (I can’t bear kids soundtracks and even he turned his nose up at La Jolie Ronde cds and nursery rhymes.

    I think it’s a hard one to police once they get hold of remote controls and music channels or youtube. I know N is entranced whenever there’s female popstar videos on – Rihanna, Kylie, Nicky Minaj (why am I not surprised). He also watches heavy rock (AC/DC and Guns n Roses) dvds with his dad.

    As an adult I find I don’t really listen to lyrics that much, I go on the tune and singalongability of that. I like Blurred Lines as a song and tune (I think a lot of music I like is based upon when I could west coast swing or ceroc to it), and didn’t take a lot of notice to the lyrics until there was uproar. But with tweens/teens having unbelievable lyric memory then I’m going to have to take a bit more notice. In a way inappropriate lyrics could be used for discussions with children about respect, values, behaviour etc but it’s hard to stop children repeating what they’re hearing or singing.

    Interesting post – would be great if you could link it up to my #MusicExploration linky this month, when it goes live on the 15th Aug.

    • John Adams
      Author
      August 9, 2014 / 11:33 am

      Thanks for commenting Emma. Ultimately you’re right, I don’t think Bluured Lines will have any impact on my kids at the age they are, but as teenagers…that’s a different matter. Inappropriate lyrics can and I’m sure will make for good discussion points in later life. There are certain things I don’t particularly want my kids exposed to now.

      See you on the 15th!

      • August 17, 2014 / 3:33 pm

        Thanks for linking up to #MusicExploration. I’ve shared your post too.

  2. Suziewoos
    August 9, 2014 / 6:14 am

    My daughter picks up lyrics extremely easily and asks what any word she doesn’t understand means. She’s a mini encyclopedia due to her autism. She hears words from her peers at school all the time that she shouldn’t use. I tell her why. It’s very hard policing that from a distance. YouTube is also policed constantly! There will come a time when I have to ‘Let it go’! In time I hope she’ll learn what to repeat & not to repeat.-social skills. Something most children learn naturally.

    • John Adams
      Author
      August 9, 2014 / 11:30 am

      I think she’ll be fine Suzie. I think we all went through this when we were growing up. My fear is Helen swearing or saying something highly inappropriate at school having heard it in a song. It may make me sound very old and boring, but a song like Thicke’s Blurred Lines is in a different league. I don’t believe in banning things but it’s not at all appropriate for kids whatsoever.

  3. August 10, 2014 / 8:41 pm

    Loved this post, really got me thinking, my sons both love Frozen and the soundtrack and I think there’s a strong moral compass in the plot but when it comes to ‘pop’ music played at parties you’re so right, Gangnam Style isn’t appropriate and messages start building from such a young age. That get lucky song was playing at a party my 4 year old attended and it baffled me such a song would play at a kid’s party!