Is Bad Music Better For Kids?Rebecca Odes
Ok, so maybe I’m kind of a music snob. I regularly veto songs that the Genius selects (from my husband’s side of the MP3 family, of course). Sometimes I run over to the computer to stop the flow as if it were blood from an artery. Does that count?
When my son was two, we started letting him watch TV. But only live concert videos. We spent hours watching Monterey Pop and the Rock and Roll Circus. He was particularly obsessed with Rust Never Sleeps. He eventually outgrew this compliant phase and instead wanted to watch endless episodes of “How It’s Made”. By the time my daughter was born, my stringent filter had become somewhat more lax. I still played “good” music around the house, but I stopped trying to make it “educational”. My daughter was clearly more excited by the pop music she heard on shopping excursions with her babysitter than X-Ray Spex, anyway.
On a family outing, I returned from a bathroom break to find my whole family listening to Katy Perry on eleven. My husband explained that this is what they do when I’m not around, “Because Mommy doesn’t like it.” That’s when I questioned whether my cultural fascism might not be the best thing for my children.
When I saw this article, it was hard not to feel a bit implicated.
Over the summer, a funny thing happened. My son, the Yardbirds fan, the kid who listened to Substitute no fewer than 4 times in a row on a Saturday afternoon, started singing Adele. He taught himself Viva La Vida on the piano. He declared his favorite song was Fireflies. And funnily enough, I was kind of pleased. No, I don’t get the momentary joy of seeing my child appreciate something that I like. But I get the much healthier joy of seeing him decide what he likes for himself. And the joy of watching him able to share that appreciation with others. Not that being the guy who introduced your friends to AC/DC isn’t a great thing, but, you know.
I’m trying to be more openminded, at least enough to remain on the premises while my kids get their groove on. I still draw the line at Katy Perry. But only because of the lyrics.