Whole Parenting Family

Which Music Is Most Popular in Our House?

SuperBoy loves music. Don’t all little tikes? He dances along, twirls, shrugs his shoulders, twists his wrists, and bobs his head from side to side. Sometimes there is jumping up and down involved. He only listens to two kids of music, though: classical or a limited selection of children/folk tunes.

Why so limited? Why not open up his horizons to encompass the normal range of what’s out there? Well, for a few reasons. Most pop culture music has bad beats & bad lyrics. Classical music affects neurological development in a positive way (read more on my posts here and here). Heavy metal is bad for everyone’s ear drums. Folk & children’s tunes are generally benign enough lyrics-wise, and can be tolerated for protracted periods of time (by moi).

What to we actually listen to, most of the time, aside from a small collection of random kid’s CDs?

1) Classical Minnesota Public Radio.

MPR, baby! It’s commercial-free (unless you count the inane member drives), plays a huge variety, and never gets dull. When it burgeons into modern or what sounds like the scary violins in a thriller movie, we turn to our CD collection of opera, piano concertos, and orchestral suites.

We had him listen to classical music exclusively until he was about 10-12 months, when those neurons were really REALLY forming. See below for reference to lecture on The Profound Effects of Music on Life.

SuperBoy really loves Maria Callas. We have this old CD of her performing about 12 arias. He loves it and sings along. I use the term “sing” liberally, but you know, that toddler humming, voweling sound.

We talk about the music while it’s playing. “Hear that? That’s a violin?” and then follow up with our little gesture of playing an imaginary violin. Or the piano is an easy one (given we have a piano that he bangs on which badly needs to be tuned or gutted). To integrate music and an understanding of which sounds go with which instruments is a simple task for us as parents. To open the world of instruments to him? Priceless!

2) Sesame Street ABCs.

I’m not a big fan of Sesame Street. We weren’t raised with it, and he isn’t really either. BUT the big exception is the Sesame Street ABC cd. We had the cassette tape as children and would religiously listen to it every Saturday when we cleaned the house. I don’t know why we liked it so much when we were like 7, 8, 9 years old. Clearly we knew our alphabets by then! But my sister found it for me on Amazon and shipped it down when he was very little.

We have corresponding black & white ABC flashcards that we prop up when the accompanying letter song. Usually this all takes place during a meal. He laughs, dances, and talks his way through eating (often a good distraction if we’re serving something less than appetizing). He also recognizes and pronounces almost all his letters. I don’t know if that’s “normal” or “early” or “late” but I don’t really want to know. I take it for what it is: he’s repeatedly exposed to something, and exposure to anything creates familiarity.

3) Burl Ives “Little White Duck.”

Another childhood fav. My mom got us this CD, but it’s readily available in individual units on youtube (check it!). He loves the songs, and then we talk about different characters from the songs and spin them off into our own storytelling. There’s a Mother Goose song on there that has affected (in a positive way) his deep and abiding love for “Goose” as he calls it. We have three different Mother Goose books of varying sizes and he is obsesssssssssed with them.

4) Cake for Dinner.

Best baby/toddler/kid cd ever. It has original & old fav tracks, and children singing on it too. The band are close family friends. Check it out here.  SuperBoy loves loves loves to dance to their instrumental songs more than any other music. The tunes truly go across the globe, and give this beautiful perspective on international music for kids. They’ve performed at some huge venues (Kennedy Center, anyone?), and I hope they do so in the Twin Cities so he can see it on stage. It’s also his favorite gift to give to little friends 🙂

5) Roe Family Singers “The Owl and the Bat and the Bumblebee.”

His Tio Joseph gave him this CD. It’s another dance favorite and we’ve seen them at the Farmer’s Market in the summertime. Hoping for lots of dancetime for him this summer at the Market to their wonderful and original tunes. Check them out here. They’re local, homegrown, and lovely.

What do your kiddos like to listen to? We’re probably on the far end of the spectrum with regard to our classical music fixation (if you listen to this lecture by this guy, you might be too!).


  1. Molly on March 2, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Just bought Cake for Dinner..looking forward to some new tunes! That Burl Ives fellow is driving me nuts. And listen to the lyrics closely: they are all about animals that encounter misfortune.

  2. Tia Ali on March 2, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Peter and The Wolf with Carol Channing is fantastic in using the instruments as the characters.

  3. mothering spirit on March 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    We listen to lots of classical music, too. It’s what my son requests when I give him the choices! Classic FM (based out of London) has some amazing CD collections for babies/ kids – music for playing, sleeping, for babies, etc. We also love folk music and have lots of the Putmayo folk kids’ CDs. Woody Guthrie and Peter, Paul & Mary (Mommy) are two other favorites.The Folk Kids’ Music channel on Pandora is another great source.
    Lately my son is really into a few CDs that have music in other languages. I’m fluent in French so we listen to his French music CDs a lot, and he picks up the words and accent so well from the songs. It’s amazing how those little minds are like sponges!

    • Novice Natural Mama on March 3, 2012 at 10:56 am

      Thanks for telling about Classical FM. Wonderful! And that you’re fluent in French is such a gift to your child. I was semi-fluent at one point in life, and vowed to raise J hearing it frequently, but I’ve slacked. I am inspired by you and will pick it up again!

  4. Hannah on March 2, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Oh, I love Peter and the Wolf! I grew up listening the MPR. My dad would sometimes drive us to meet the bus and that is the only station we would play. I have fond memories of their “morning show.” My yr old likes Iron Maiden.

    • Novice Natural Mama on March 3, 2012 at 10:56 am

      My dad too! MPR was always on in his car!

      Will have to check out Iron Maiden.

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