Boy Band or Acid Rock? Fife and Drum or Contemporary Christian? Jam band or Rap? It’s a risky business that music executives know all too well. Leave your child to his or her own device and they’ll be molded by commercial culture and what they perceive “cool” by the crap they learn at school and from Disney TV.
The repercussions of having a child who listens to sucky music can be life long. Like most acquired tastes, children’s preferences are learned and acquired through mimicking and their own creative deduction. Despite your best efforts, you could still end up hating your kid’s music. After all, generations have been defined by the music their parents’ hated.
But there is hope if you’re willing to actively expose them to good music and engage in a little brainwashing at the same time. Good luck!
- FIND THE COMPROMISE
They Might Be Giants is a children’s band masquerading as an adult band. They’ve been putting out playful and cerebral music since 1982, but have recently become known for their amazingly creative children’s albums. It all started with NO!. After winning a ‘Best Children’s Album’ Grammy for Here Come the ABCs, They Might Be Giants released the kid-centric set, Here Comes Science. Other bands you already like will have albums that better fit the sensibilities of your little one, so keep tying until you find something that works.
- HOOK THEM EARLY ON YOUR OWN HARMONY
The Cure is known for dark and lugubrious sex music from the 1980s – until now! Listen to renditions of Close to Me and Boys Don’t Cry in their best-selling Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of The Cure. If early Emo doesn’t float your boat, lullaby renditions of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Queen, Journey, Bob Marley and Dave Matthews can be bought. And don’t forget the lullaby Metallica and Pearl Jam albums either.
- FORBID WHAT YOU LIKE
Do you have a child who takes a contrary position regardless of how unpopular it may be? Tell your little contrarian that you absolutely forbid him or her from listening to your music. “You’ll get spanked, then grounded until your 18th birthday if you ever listen to that music around me!”
- FORCE THEM TO LEARN THE GENRE, NOT THE INSTRUMENT
Give them lessons from a genre teacher, not a teacher of an instrument. Clarinet lessons from the school music teacher will lead to a college marching band scholarship. But send them to a Big Band leader and they’ll be smoking cigarettes and snapping their fingers in the best jazz clubs in New York City, like Benny Goodman. Of course, they could very well hate you for forcing arduous lessons, but years later when they hear Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me To The Moon they’ll think, “Huh, that could be okay.”
- SKIP ACOUSTIC, GO ELECTRIC!
Give them an electric guitar and screw the basics. Buy them amps and get them plugged into bigger and better sound systems until they’re hooked on the distortion and hard licks that made rock-n-roll so famous. Then again, you’d better have a sound-proofed garage and actually like that music. And be single. And live on a farm.