Thursday, January 21, 2010

What We're Listening To

One of the most frequent questions I get from friends with babies or toddlers is, "How do I find music for my child that I will actually enjoy listening to?" Because, let's face it, there's a lot of bad music for kids out there. Especially for very young children. I'm sorry, but it's true! We've all heard that saccharine-sweet, drippy singing, with the Musak-style background... it's not good, people. If it sounds like nails on a chalkboard to you, why subject your poor unsuspecting children to it? (This is the same principle I use for food -- if it doesn't seem appetizing to me, why would I feed it to my baby??)

Not to mention, unless you're strapping headphones on your toddler, you're probably listening to it too. Good music can be the difference between a smoothly-running day filled with fun, and a whiney mess when everyone -- including Mommy -- ends up crying on the floor. (Oh, don't pretend you haven't been there.) They say that music soothes the savage beast, and that's doubly true for savage toddlers. So here is a sampling of some of what we're listening to, together, right now. And please share in the comments your favorites -- we are always looking for new tunes!

They Might Be Giants, No!
This is their first kids' album, No!, and still our family favorite. We listen to this daily, in part because the toddler's current Favorite Song in the Universe is "Four of Two," which he refers to as "the clock song." (As in, "Clock song! Again, again! Clock song again!") When you have to listen to the same song roughly 30 times a day, you thank your lucky stars that it's as musically interesting as TMBG.

Trout Fishing in America, Big Round World
Big Round World is the five-year-old's current favorite. They have a bunch of truly silly songs, and some more thoughtful, but they're all quite listenable, with a kind of folksy Grateful Dead sort of feel.

Dan Zanes and Friends, 76 Trombones
76 Trombones is not the first Broadway compilation album for kids we've owned, but it's the first one I've actually wanted to listen to. Each of the songs has Dan Zanes's laid-back style without losing the feel of the original. As the title of the album implies, there are several songs from The Music Man, which is particularly fun for us since we just saw it onstage this past weekend. (Lots of people walking around this house singing "Gary, Indiana," I must say. Egads!)

What are you listening to? What songs or albums do your kids have to listen to over and over until you're reaching for the earplugs? Do tell... I'd love to find a new alternative to the "clock song!"


  1. We love Caspar Babypants "More Please!" and "Here I Am". It's the lead singer from Presidents of the United States of America, and the music is very much in that style. There's a lot of songs about bugs and birds.

  2. Oooh, I am going to have to check those out! We're fans of bugs and birds, so that should work out well. ;) Thanks for the suggestion!