Music Parenting 101: Expand Your Kids' Musical Horizons While They're Young
Luckily, I started when they were just pups. Because I discovered something on our recent vacation: The large window of musical influence that I've exerted over my kids all these years has shrunk down to almost nothing.
We take a driving vacation every other year, and in past years, I've been able to dominate the music in the van, mainly under the old "he who drives shall pick the tunes" rule. In order to promote open family communication, and discourage competing noise levels, I've agreed to leave the volume down, and the kids have agreed to stay off the headphones. I've used these opportunities to introduce tons of great artists and albums to the kids.
But I couldn't pull it off this year. All musical hell broke loose.
That Doesn't Work Anymore, Old Man
The boys are 15 and 13. In spite of my very best efforts (see the Two Albums Before Bed Rule), they increasingly listen to crappy pop-rap and dance. They are lyrically stimulated by songs about asses.
My daughter is 11, but she's been musically hopeless forever. She never had a chance. My wife show-tuned her straight down the rabbit hole of music blandness . . . filled with echoes of ProTools (listen for the switch at the beginning of the Simpsons video), bad covers, and group sing-alongs. Call it the High School Musical wing of Wileysworld. First it was Disney. Then, The Voice. Now, America's Got Talent. I can round the corner in my house and be accosted by horrendous over-singing at any moment.
All three of the children challenge my authority with regularity these days (providing loads of in-the-moment annoyance and ironic column fodder).
They wanted to listen to their own music this time.
Obviously, my hypocrisy can only go so far.
So it was either share the speakers and subject myself to one of my highest levels of hell (shitty music being played all around me), or cave in on my "no headphones" rule.
Obviously, my musical torture can only go so far.
Hello, headphones. Goodbye to one of my best opportunities to apply musical influence.