The first time I meet someone and tell them that I write about kids’ music, I often get the same questions:
How did you get into kids’ music? Are you a musician? What do you recommend?
The answers are actually pretty simple: I’m a passionate mom (who prefers that more noise come from happily singing kids than the TV). No, I’m not a musician (see answer A). Well it depends; what are you looking for?
When I first started writing about the children’s music genre, I had no idea how far and wide the journey would take me. Music it seems is a topic we sometimes take a little bit for granted. We turn on the radio or pop in our favorite CD and boom music happens.
When it comes to family music, some people assume that children’s music must not be any good, because well, it’s made for kids (and we’ve all experienced our share of music that falls into that category).
But what I so pleasantly discovered is that there is a lot of good music out there made for families, with positive messages and family-friendly lyrics. The overwhelming majority of it is made by wonderful passionate parents and grandparents, who have the gift of music.
I’ll admit, it’s not always so easy to find the good stuff, but it’s not as hard as it may seem either.
So, today I’m sharing with you three of my favorite secrets for finding great quality music the whole family can enjoy.
#1 My old standby: The Public Library
Do you have a library card? If you don’t, did you know you can get one, for free? The library still remains one of the best resources for entertainment, whether it’s the expected; books, or the somewhat unexpected; digital books, audio books, movies, and yes music!
When I was the mom of a young toddler searching for new music that wouldn’t drive me nuts if I had to listen to it on repeat over and over again, I made good use of the library! Regardless of the size of your local branch, you’re bound to find a sizable stack of Children’s CDs to flip through. Grab whatever catches your eye. An artist you’re familiar with? Yes. A cover that catches your eye? Yes. Something from your own childhood? Yes.
Go ahead and try it, there’s no harm or commitment and it’s free.
#2 A New Twist: Try a Podcast
If you aren’t familiar with podcasts, I’m here to tell you there’s a whole new world out there waiting for your ears. Podcasts have become so incredibly popular you can find one on any number of subjects, including kids’ music.
Children’s music podcasts range from everything from a curated playlist or radio show to behind-the-scenes interviews. Most of them are free and the great thing is you can save them to revisit again and again on your digital music player.
#3 Ask Around and Take Notice
My first two tips admittedly require a little bit of legwork on your part. So my last tip is really quite simple. Pay attention.
Just as I’ve become a resource for my friends to ask about what’s new and hot in the world of kids’ music, your friends are probably pretty good resources too. Find out what they’re listening to and what they like. Ask around.
Pay attention to the music that’s already around you. When your child comes home from school raving about a new song, ask the teacher what they’ve been listening to in the classroom. If you have access to satellite radio, visit Kids Place Live now and then and jot down the tunes that catch your ear. I’ve even been known to ask the librarian at story time what artist she featured that day. It turns out music really is all around us and finding the good stuff might not be as hard as you think.
Bonus Tip: #4 Internet Radio
Whether or not you’ve tried Internet radio yet, most of the options have children’s music in their catalog. Last year, I wrote a Busy Parent’s Guide to Internet Radio that highlights some of the most popular platforms. This one, again, requires a little bit of legwork, but it’s an increasingly popular method of new music discovery.
For more music recommendations and other tips on easy ways to add music to your family’s life, visit Swing Whistle Zing, where I’m finding kids’ music for everyone all of the time.
I’d love to hear in the comments about what you listen to? And where do you find family-friendly music?
Jennifer is a stay-at-home mom to two energetic, fun-loving boys ages 7 and 3. She found a new passion in exploring great children's music after becoming a mom, which she blogs about at Swing Whistle Zing. Jennifer fancies finding quality tunes the whole family can enjoy, and dancing with her boys (both big and little) to her favorite songs that connect her to the past and keep her grounded in the present.