If you look in the menu where it says “Categories”, and scroll down to “Reviews”, you will find my “Kids Music” posts where I am spotlighting some of my favorite children’s music.
I am a HUGE fan of kids’ music. I have been collecting children’s music for some time now. Long before I even had kids of my own…back when I taught preschool and was the teacher that would bring out the boombox and really rock out and have dance parties with the kids to my favorite kids tunes!! I have so many fond memories of this, and nowadays its my own kids that get to enjoy all my favorites, and help me find new favorites.
There’s quite a lot available in the children’s music genre these days, but sadly , not all of it is what I would personally call “good”. So I want to help parents wade through the possibilities by sharing what I feel are the best available albums specifically aimed at children.
These reviews, previously compiled on one list, are now posted as individual posts on FresnoFamily.com, but I’m also providing a complete list here, for those that like to scan a list. This file will be updated as I post new reviews, so check back regularly.
If you are an artist with a cd you’d like me to review, email me for where to mail.
Please note: I only review cds I like and would recommend.
Why children’s music, why not just play regular music for children?
Many of you are probably wondering this…or you may be saying that you don’t bother with children’s music because there’s so much non-kid music out there that’s good, why limit my children to children’s music? I totally agree with this…and I’m not suggesting that you ONLY play children’s music for your children. But I think there is a lot of value in playing songs that children can really relate to. Especially since nowadays there’s SOOOOO much out there that is truly excellent!
Think about it, most music that is aimed at adults has some sort of adult theme. And I’m not talking sexual, although there certainly are those songs out there as well. Simply put, most musicians are singing about topics that children cannot and should not be able to relate to…for example, a lot of these songs are about romantic love. Not always inappropriate, per se, but not something children can understand or relate to yet! But let them listen to a song about elephants playing hide and seek!! (One of my FAVORITE Stevesongs songs!) They can TOTALLY get the message that elephants are lousy at playing this game (“What an enormously ridiculous thing!”) and that maybe its not such a bad thing to be small…and hey, its a VERY catchy tune and FUNNY!!
So, let your kids listen to YOUR music…expose them to all the genres out there! But don’t rule out children’s music. As you will see from my reviews, there’s a LOT of really truly FABULOUS kids’ music out there. And hey, YOU may even find a new favorite!!
My personal criteria for good children’s music…
Good children’s songs (to me) must have at least some of these, but not all:
- Catchy tune–this is a MUST. If the tune is boring, the whole song is.
- Minimal lyrics–too many songs have toooooo many lyrics. Kids cannot learn the song if you’ve got a whole detailed story in there with very few repeating lines. The simpler the better. Raffi’s singable songs are a great example of what I mean. Either very few lyrics or lots of repeating lyrics. The faster you can learn them, the more likely the kids will pick them up and enjoy singing them. The only exception to the minimal lyrics rule, for me, is a story-song. These have captivating stories to listen to…but they make up for the the long lyrics by having an interactive, catchy chorus the kids can easily join in on.
- Repeating lyrics–same idea as minimal lyrics…it just makes learning the song that much easier. Plus kids love repetition!
- Singable A cappella (without accompaniment)–if you can sing it without the cd playing…you’ve got a great kids’ song. You need to be able to sing the song in the bathtub, car, outside, wherever you are!
- Movement inducing (dance or detailed actions)–if its not a song that lends itself to a cappella singing…it better be one that makes you dance or move! Greg & Steve are great for music & movement music. The songs should make you wanna boogie and/or tell you how to move your body.
Things that are NOT necessary for good children’s music:
- Performer with fantastic singing voice–honestly, its not really necessary. Now of course, a “bad” singing voice on an album to be purchased by others, not good…but I mean an average singing voice on an album that has fantastic songs and music is just fine, in my opinion.
- Songs that teach a lesson–that’s great if you find some fun way to educate while singing, but its just not necessary. Fun, silly, nonsense songs are just as good for kids. And frankly, sometimes I find children’s music that is just trying far too hard to teach…so much that it sometimes feels contrived.
- Songs that have fancy background accompaniment–oh these can be fun in some cases, when not overdone…but really, not necessary…in fact, the songs that are fancier recordings tend to be songs that are not so easy to remember the lyrics when you don’t have the cd playing. So they better be full of fun movements! Actually, a few of my favorite children’s music cds have no background music at all, or just accoustic guitar.
- Performers that are well-known and highly acclaimed– some of the music you will see listed in the Kids Music Reviews section is by people that you probably haven’t heard of…I have found some real gems in the children’s music industry that just are not huge successes (but should be!)
To read my reviews, click on “Kids’ Music Reviews” below “Kids Music” in the horizontal navigation bar above, or click here.