Yesterday, I found myself in a radio studio for an appearance on BBC Five Live. It’s not the first time I’ve been on that particular channel, but it was easily the most fun to date.
I joined Lyndsey from Muma on the Edge in Nihal Arthanayake’s brilliantly-named School Runnings section.
The topic surrounded whether parents have a duty to give their children a good taste in music.
Inspired by the very real threat of Baby Shark ending up as Christmas number one, Nihal wanted to know what we thought of songs like it as well as the other music we share with our kids.
Starting with Baby Shark specifically, I’m already very familiar with it. We’ve been singing it at Rhymetime with youngest for a year or so!
While the version that’s gone viral is immensely irritating, I quite like the original song.
It’s a fun one to sing with kids and it teaches them basic storytelling. As well as warning of the folly of going for a swim with predators, of course.
So, while I’d be happy for it to disappear from the charts well ahead of the festive season, it’s fun and educational and we definitely won’t stop singing it anytime soon.
That’s not to say that real music needs to be forgotten though. Oh no. We regularly play the things we like to our kids and they seem to enjoy them.
One of the key reasons for this is that we think it’s so important to give them a musical education from an early age.
Waiting for the toddler to nod off so I can escape downstairs to eat. After a prolonged silence, she has just started singing Chas n Dave songs. FFS!
— Diary of the Dad (@DiaryOfTheDad) March 2, 2018
The majority of the music we play – and, indeed, that they request – is the likes of Maxïmo Park, Kasabian and Kaiser Chiefs. We play lots of other stuff though.
Among a great many others, they’re also familiar with The Beatles, Tom Petty and, as you can see from this tweet from March, Chas n Dave. RIP, Chas.
We also let them listen to things that they’ve heard via films, parties and school discos. So the likes of Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Pharrell Williams and Justin Timberlake get played a lot too. In short, they get a lot of variety.
The general consensus on yesterday’s show was that introducing kids to an eclectic range of music was the way forward. Obviously, as it’s what we’ve been doing all along, I agree with this as an approach.
It shows kids what’s out there and lets them make their own minds up. And, yes, I think it also quietly reduces the chances of them liking stuff I think of as rubbish!
So do we have a duty to give our kids a good taste in music? I say yes.
What do you think?