July 7th, 2009

Kids Music that’s Not Just for Kids

For long car rides or rainy days, or just to pep the little beggars up – these are my picks for kids’ music that isn’t just for kids.

Robert Schumann: “Album for the Young”

Many composers wrote music for children, but I’m particularly fond of Robert Schumann’s works, especially his “Album for the Young.” These are all solo piano works, and each piece is descriptive of a style or mood (e.g. “Soldier’s March”). The changes in tempo are perfect for dancing or acting out different scenes – especially for children who are interested in ballet, or who just like to move. These pieces may be familiar to anyone who took piano lessons growing up – a few of them are common recital material.

Talking Heads

Almost anything by the Talking Heads is kid-friendly but two of my favorites are “Speaking in Tongues” and “Little Creatures.” David Byrne also has a lot of solo material, and I think nearly any of it is kid-acceptable – and funky to boot.

They Might Be Giants: “Here Come the 123s”

Their most recent album, “Here Come the 123s” just won a Grammy for best children’s album (both “NO!” and “Here Come the ABCs” are good as well), and most (though not all) of their music is suitable for children. They have a cool website with free streaming music. They have live “family shows” on their tour calendar. And they make me happy.

Dave Brubeck: “Time Out”

Even if you don’t generally like jazz, you will probably like “Time Out” and so will your kids. This album includes the famous “Take Five” –  the world’s catchiest tune. And I don’t mean that in a hopelessly brain-frying,“Turkey in the Straw” kind of way. But be warned: your child may suddenly don a black beret and ask you to mix him up a martini.

The Partridge Family

I know this is a wild card but bear with me. I have a lot of happy memories of dancing to this music when I was kid. I had a blast. (And I know I’m dating myself but 43 is the new 12, so shut up.) Give it a try! You can dance and sing along, and your kids will think you’re hysterical. I think there’s a lot of good “clean” pop of the 70’s that’s just waiting to be mined

ABBA, anyone?

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