Family · Motherhood

Children’s music


Daughter is all of eight years old now and is  developing her own musical tastes. Until now things were ruled pretty much by Disney and the few child-specific albums recorded by bands that we could get behind no problem. The whole family has a soft spot for The Barenaked Ladies album “Snacktime,” and The Laurie Berkner Band will make me smile forever. There have always been the songs sung by princesses and cartoon characters in general, and she showed an early affinity for show tunes that we encouraged to make sure we had a middle ground to go to on long car rides so everyone would be happy. Musically speaking, Husband and I had very similar tastes for many years and enjoyed folky, singer/songwriter, bluegrassy tunes that we shared with Daughter whenever she’d allow. I mean, her name is from a Grateful Dead song (although I did not realize it at the time. There’s a good story in that…) so we’ve always been considered in the “granola” set. We like our classic rock, too, and have been fortunate that Daughter enjoys much of what we do to the point of requesting access to it so she can learn the words. But hey, what intelligent person doesn’t like Queen?

As great as it has been up to now, things are changing fast. She still likes all the music we’ve nurtured her with but now she’s adding her own mix that we are not always too keen on. She’s being influenced by friends and the shows she likes, her radio stations and, of course, still Disney. Taylor Swift is quite the hot item in my house these days, and I find myself singing along so much more than I ever thought I’d admit. (I will not apologize, though. See my thoughts on guilty pleasures.) Adam Levine is a big deal to her, and she thinks he’s pretty dreamy-girl’s got taste- and Katy Perry and The Descendants soundtrack are all equally “amazing, Mom!!” as far as she’s concerned. I like some of it; some of it not so much. Still, though, it is exciting, and watching her grow up and mature in this way is more heartening than I could have anticipated.

Recently there have been two songs used in movies by artists I would not normally listen to that are pretty popular for Daughter. Instead of my normal reaction of recognizing them as sort of catchy and not really paying attention because of who they are, I have listened to the words of these songs that are so uplifting to her.  It has given me an extraordinary insight into how her mind works, and it’s pretty wonderful. I’d like to share a little bit of them with you. The first is a song from Disney’s Zootopia and it is performed by Shakira. Like I mentioned this is an artist that I would not normally listen to but this song, “Try Everything,” has some lyrics which will give you faith in music:

I messed up tonight, I lost another fight/I still mess up but I’ll just start again/I keep falling down, I keep on hitting the ground/I always get up now to see what’s next/ Birds don’t just fly, they fall down and get up/Nobody learns without getting it wrong/ I won’t give up, no I won’t give in/’Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again/No I won’t leave, I wanna try everything/I wanna try even though I could fail/I won’t give up, no I won’t give in/’Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again

I mean, come on. This is good! This is inspiring stuff, and my little girl is finding hope and beauty here. You think that’s good? How about this one from Home:

Turn your face towards the sun/Let the shadows fall behind you/Don’t look back, just carry on/And the shadows will never find you/Turn your face towards the sun/Let the shadows fall behind you

There’s no way to not feel good about the world after listening to these songs. I am proud of Daughter for finding music that speaks to her and uplifts her. Some day she might be really down and if I can’t help, maybe Shakira and Rhianna can.

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