And The Band Plays On
I remember the first time I drove somewhere with my sister when my niece and nephew were little. As she turned the key, bouncy, bubbly music with kid voices boomed from her car stereo. I must have looked at her like she had three heads because she just said, “What?” as if hearing this is the way we count sheep or something similarly childlike coming from her stereo was the most normal thing in the world.
“The music. Really?” I said.
“Oh yeah. That’s the kids. Sorry.” She ejected the CD, “I don’t even notice it anymore and some the songs are really cute.”
Now I was sure she had three heads. This is my sister, who used to travel states away from home to hear bands whose names I’d never heard of before and had more tattoos than I had surgery scars. I guess I was surprised that my sister had music piping out of her stereo just for her kids. It was a day I’d never thought I’d see.
I understand the desire to filter what kids listen to. In many ways it doesn’t seem like the radio is safe anymore with the music that’s played or the shock jocks coming through the airwaves, but despite music with in your face and in your bedroom lyrics, I have yet to filter what my kids listen to.
When I was young, my sister and I had our own record collection of kid songs, (yes. RECORDS. Those large round discs about four times the size of a CD). As I got a little older, my kid songs were traded in for cassette tapes with the likes of Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, and Pat Benatar, but never in any of my memories do I remember my parents filtering out what was played on the radio or telling me I couldn’t have an artist’s music because of lyrics or how they presented themselves. In fact, I remember my dad driving me to school belting out everything from the top 40’s to the oldies (his eight track collection is the BOMB). Saturday mornings in my house were for cleaning house and American Bandstand. If I remember correctly I can attribute 25 points of extra credit in a middle school health class to knowing my Buddy Holly from my Jerry Lee Lewis.
I guess it never dawned on me that there would be a reason to filter or censor my kids’ music but I realize that this is something many parents do because let’s face it; there is a lot that should probably be censored. Still, when they ask me for a song from iTunes or to download one of my playlists on to their mp3’s, I’m more than willing because music is a part of discovering who you are and your independence and I remember discovering an artist that I loved and whose music filled me with emotion. I think if I was to start censoring their music or limiting what they could listen to, I’d be robbing them of a vital part of self discovery.
I have four great kids who have vastly different tastes in music and I can’t help but think it’s all because of weekends with the television off and their dad and I turning up the tunes and grooving through our CD collections (oh come on! You know you have a CD stash too!), or station flipping when we’re riding in the car.
Music is ever changing and in 20 or 30 years when my own children have children, I’d like to think that they will let my grandchildren discover their own love of music and think of us belting out tunes in the car or sharing our playlists.
How does the sound of music flow through your house? Do the kids get to choose their music selections or is it a joint effort between you and your kids?