great music for kids: music for kids that even a parent like me can handle

i’m partial, as i’ve said, to tons of music by tons of people. i have even made a playlist of nonkid songs that my kids love (it’s on a service called rhapsody, but it should give you some free plays if you’re interested in hearing it.) but what do you do when your kid is clamoring for some kid-friendly music made specifically for kids?

in other words, how do you fight off barney?

increasingly, real live grownup musicians are gearing music toward kids. they might be giants, dan zanes (formerly of the del-fu-e-gos, as juliana hatfield once sang), mark mothersbaugh (formerly of devo), the list goes on and on. it’s not even bad, mostly. and because i like to hifive indy folks, i’ll give a big shout out to my childhood friend yosi, whose indie kids rock blog hasn’t been updated in awhile but who has some fun content on, well, doy, independent folks who make rock for kids.

trout fishing in america is pretty hysterical. there. i said it.

i keep hoping that i can find some jazz that my kids would like. anyone got any suggestions there?

i must say, music in kids cartoons is becoming increasingly sophisticated. i once swore, for example, that a special episode of blues clues sounded like a takeoff of the who’s tommy. and the international super spy show of the backyardigans was a smart takeoff on mid-1960s spy movies, down to the music. and, guilty pleasure alert:

i still adore my old disney favorite songs. when you wish upon a star will always be one of my favorite songs. ever.

so go ahead and call me a wuss or a traitor. i care not. but music for kids is improving. and i think it’s because we parents finally said no to complete pap, like they’ve had for years.

truth be told, it still won’t keep me from playing regular music for my kids. i still think that’s the best. music. ever. and i know that my kids will rebel one day. they’ll love crappy top 40, or the current crappy hip hop that doesn’t usually hold a candle to old skool, or — horrors — they’ll fall in love with modern country.

that, and they’ll announce that they’re conservative republicans. eek.

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8 Responses to “great music for kids: music for kids that even a parent like me can handle”

  1. the Backyardigans music is by Evan Lurie if i’m not mistaken. That’s John Lurie’s brother. They were both in The Lounge Lizards in the late 70’s and in to the 80’s, making very cool bop jazz influenced instumental music. It was avante garde, and wasn’t released on a jazz label, but it was some pretty cutting edge stuff.

  2. I’m almost afraid to ask — but, what do you think of the kid’s band Milkshake?

  3. never be afraid to ask me a question. there are very few things that i’ll go off on anyone over, beyond racism, sexism, and just unnecessary meanness 🙂 and this is definitely none of those!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    i haven’t heard much of them, though i heard a song “we’ve got a band” that i thought was a lot of fun. i’ll have to check them out — thanks for the suggestion!!!!

  4. thankyou so much, toddo, my fellow musicologist!

  5. hmmm, jazz–what about some django reinhardt?

  6. ooh — good choice! i don’t think he wrote children’s music specifically, but so wonderful!

  7. For jazz, John Coltrane did “A Few of My Favorite Things” (picking up on the Sound of Music from a post or two ago).

    But what about the guy who does the Peanuts soundtracks? I bet that would be a hit! Hmm, maybe I should get it for everyone for Christmahanukwanza….

  8. notdancingqueen Says:

    Any kid who sings Lady Banana had parents who taught her right. 😉

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