What Is “Children’s Music”?

In the 9/6/07 issue of Rolling Stone mag­a­zine, with Maroon 5 on the cover, lead singer Adam Levine’s mother makes a provoca­tive state­ment:

I wouldn’t let him lis­ten to kid’s music in the car. I was play­ing The Bea­t­les, Paul Simon, Fleet­wood Mac.”

What struck me about this is that when­ever I would get in the car to go for a drive with my own fam­ily, we also lis­tened to the pop­u­lar music of the day: The Bea­t­les, The Rolling Stones, Jesus Christ Super­star or what­ever was on the radio. I don’t remem­ber being exposed to that era’s equiv­a­lent of The Wig­gles, Bar­ney, and Raffi.

So I won­dered how much does this make a dif­fer­ence? Does this (or does this not) affect a child’s musi­cal devel­op­ment? It would be easy to say that lis­ten­ing to too much Wig­gles might dampen musi­cal cre­ativ­ity., Yet some of the crit­i­cisms that can be made of children’s music can be said of pop and rock: it is repet­i­tive, har­mon­i­cally unso­phis­ti­cated, annoy­ingly catchy.

And what to make of the whole Baby Ein­stein, Baby Mozart, etc. genius devel­op­ment records out there? Will we see a new wave of clas­si­cal music giants in the next generation?

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About Richard D. Russell

This was written by Richard D. Russell, New York City based composer of fine music.