Music Education

My boys are music nuts. Nicholas can rarely be seen in a church service without his drum sticks and Lewis is already showing a proclivity toward guitar. We listen to music constantly at home and in the car. It started me thinking about my musical upbringing. When I was growing up, I received a steady diet of Guy and Ralna, Evie, Amy Grant and the Oak Ridge Boys. Except for some John Denver and a little Paul Simon there just wasn’t a lot of great music in my house. Not that I’m complaining, but it wasn’t until college that I began to explore music in any sort of expansive way.

When Nicholas was really young somebody have us this ‘stinky-feet’ guy’s record. Have you heard this stuff? Holy cow. This is the worst music I’ve ever heard. It made me physically ill to listen to it and I vowed I wouldn’t subject my children to that crap – I don’t care how many kids go nuts for it, that doesn’t make it ok. (my kids would play with their own poop if we let them…I’m not sure we want to trust their judgment here).

Anyway, I’ve made 3 mixes for their musical education and this is mix number one. The point of the first mix was to teach them music that was heavy on the groove side and very high energy stuff. Thematically the music is fairly benign (except for let’s get it on) but it’s stuff they can learn to sing along with that will teach them rhythm and melody. Here’s mix one:

ABC – The Jackson Five
American Girl – Tom Petty
Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours – Stevie Wonder
Love Will Keep Us Together – Captain & Tenille
You Make My Dreams Come True – Hall & Oates
Superstition – Stevie Wonder
There She Goes Again – the La’s
Let’s Get it On – Marvin Gaye
Put A Little Love in your Heart – Al Green & Annie Lennox
I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
You Sexy Thing – Hot Chocolate
God Only Knows – Beach Boys
Walking on Sunshine – Nikki Cleary
We Are Family – Sister Sledge
Crocodile Rock – Elton John
Y.M.C.A. – Village People
Dancin Queen – Abba
Free Fallin – Tom Petty
Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry

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  • J. Hall

    surprised you and i have never really dug into how we plan to raise artistic children being parents who support our families artistically.

    this is good stuff. never thought about making them CDs.

    i take Eli on lots of errands with me and he’s not allowed to listen to any childrens music in my car. he can request things from my iPod that he likes and we’ll listen to them.

    i often force new stuff on him that i’m liking. anything from straight out metal, to more sensitve “cry me a river” pop.

    oddly enough, he likes a lot of music that has solid development. not even melody per se.

    copleland is one of his current faves

    this all makes me nervous though.

    i fear that even this very mild form of manipulation will back fire and i’ll get a square stock analyst for a son.

    BTW, our kids are reversed in roles. Eli = guitar, Xander = drums.

    i should steer xander to bass and we’d have a killer rock band!

  • Tim Suttle

    Nick is all about the drums right now. I have another mix that has one song from the movie “once” but he has no use for it without good drumming.

    One thing is bugging me, though. He sings along all the time, but rarely (if ever) tries to match pitches. Do you know what age kids should start to match pitch?