Recorded Music for Kids
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Recorded Music for Kids
My 8-year-old has expressed interest in Celtic music. In
particular, she seems to like the lively variety, with the
drums and tinpipes, the jigs and reels. A check on Amazon
reveals what looks like a lot of slower, mystical stuff, which
is beautiful, but you can't dance to it. I'm just clueless as
to where to start. Can anyone out there suggest a good CD or
two to get us started?
We listen to lots of celtic/irish music here at our house, none of it is specifically for
children, but my kids LOVE it, and it's definitely dance-able. Here are some bands/
Orla and the Gas Men -- Minding Mice At Crossroads (my current favorite -- it's in
my car CD player as we speak)
The Lonely Stranded Band -- self titled CD, subtitled: Traditional Irish Music and
Song from Charlie Piggott, Miriam Collins, and Joe Corcoran
The Lahawns -- Live at Winkles (because it's a live album, it's a little different/less
child-friendly than others)
Sharon Shannon -- self titled CD. She's very popular, and there are probably lots of
CDs by her out there, so anyone would probably do.
The Chieftans -- Celtic Wedding
We also have one by a band called Dervish, that I can't find and I can't remember the
name, but it's AWESOME. VERY lively.
We have others, but this is a good start.
FYI, my mom and dad own an Irish pub up in Sonoma -- Murphy's Irish Pub -- and
they have live music Thursday through Sunday. Not all of it is Irish, but you can go
to their website to view a schedule (I think) at http://www.sterba.com/sonoma/
murphy/ and take your daughter to hear some.
It's a restaurant also, so kids are welcome -- it's not a 21 and over crowd at all. I
bring my own kids there, which is probably where they learned to love this kind of
music. It's not terribly close, but it's probably more family friendly than other live
music venues you would find closer to home. Some of the bands I listed above have
played at the pub, too!
I'm always happy to spread the good word about celtic music, so I hope you find/
enjoy some of these CDs.
I don't have any specific recommendations, but I did turn up
quite a few things on Amazon doing a search on the word ''reels'' (
a type of dance), then following Amazon's ''more like this''
feature. I think ''celtic'' has turned into a code word for mellow
in recent years, and most of the things I found were described as
Irish or Scottish instead. From you comments, dance music seems
the way to go.
I recommend that you go to Down Home Music in El Cerrito (san
Pablo Ave) and check out their great collection. They'll let
you listen before you buy. I really like to lisdten to several
of the CDs from Alisdair Fraser(sp?) - great for hopping fiddle
music. Very lively and up beat.
They're not specifically geared towards kids, but the Wicked
Tinkers (http://www.wickedtinkers.com/) are definitely lively -
primarily bagpipes and drums, lots of energy and fun. They do
school assemblies, so they're reasonably kid-friendly. As it
turns out, I just looked their calendar and they'll be at the
Livermore Highland Games (http://www.livermoregames.com/) next
weekend (May 14 & 15). Probably a good place to check out more
celtic music as well. In general, if you're looking for dance-
able stuff look for jigs, reels, flings, that sort of thing on
I'd highly recommend Silly Wizard for kids and grownups alike.
I''ve loved them for decades. They do have a few slower numbers
(which are beautiful), but most of their stuff is up-tempo and
will keep your kids dancing. Their ''best of'' cd is great, but
don't neglect their others albums.
I don't have any CD recommendations, but
Ardenwood East Bay Regional Park is having
a Celtic Festival on Saturday, June 11th.
Your little Celtic music fan may enjoy this event
and I'm sure some of the bands would have CDs
for sale at the Festival.
First of all, go to Down Home Music on San Pablo Ave in El
Cerrito (close to Stockton). They are very knowledgeable, and
they have an extensive collection. I personally like high
energy Celtic music groups with some vocals, like the
Chieftains and the Tannahill Weavers. Some verge on rock n
roll, like the Corrs, and Wake the Dead does Grateful Dead
covers mixed with jigs and reels. You can probably get all
those groups' CDs on Amazon. I also like Glen Morgan on hammer
dulcimer. There are many, many others.
Next, check out www.freightandsalvage.org. This is a Berkeley
coffeehouse music venue (no alcohol) that has several bands a
month that play Irish/Scottish/Breton/oldtimey etc. They have
some Sunday afternoon concerts for kids, but people are welcome
to bring kids (usually about 8 years old and up) to concerts at
8 PM. The website lets you listen to sample songs from upcoming
groups, and you'll see many wonderful local groups there as
In the long run, you'll figure out who you like to listen to by
hearing groups perform. I've bought CDs at the Freight, at the
Renaissance Faire, at the Scottish Games at Dunsmuir House, etc.
In Berkeley at the Starry Plough on Shattuck (south of Ashby a
few blocks) you can take your kids for fish and chips, and you
can have a pint in a smokeless atmosphere, while you listen to
a free live Irish music session every Sunday night. Many of the
same people come back and play Monday when they teach Irish
dancing for free-- it's a little late for a school night,
Finally, check out the San Francisco Folk Music Club online at
www.sffmc.org. For the cost of a year's membership (about $10)
they will send you a newsletter that lists all kinds of music
things going on in the Bay Area, from contradances to concerts
to monthly sing-along parties, to family camping weekends with
musicians. The newsletter also has many reviews of CDs with a
lot of helpful description.
There are also Scottish or Irish dance class schools for young
children in San Francisco, the East Bay, and the Peninsula. For
older children, you might want to sign up for recorder lessons--
through the city recreation departments or the schools.
Good for you to encourage an interest in music!
I'd recommend the debut CD by the Irish group Solas. It has
some slow ballads among many lively tunes with neat beats on
the traditional frame drum, the bodhran. Also take your kid to
see some live Scottish music, as the Highland games season is
in full swing in California. The next one will be in Livermore
the weekend of 5/14 (www.livermoregames.com/). It's not just
pipes and drums; there are fiddlers and harpists, too. For
more, check out the Western United States Pipe Band Association
website at www.wuspba.org/events.html. The merchants at the
games will have many musical instruments and CDs. Slainte!
I asked a friend of mine for recommendations (she is half of the
harp duo Woadharps, www.woadharps.com). She highly recommended
Fire and Grace by Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas (available on
Amazon). In tracking down the CD, I also found the website of the
company that produced it, http://www.culburnie.com/, which seems
to specialize in Scottish music.
For fun Celtic music try one of the Putumayo compilation CDs. Also, FYI the historic
Ardenwood Farm in Fremont is hosting a Celtic music festival on June 11th. Check
out the Ardenwood website for more info.
I am a **huge** Celtic music fan, and can recommend many fine groups which play
uptempo music a child might enjoy: Altan, Dervish, Solas, Old Blind Dogs among
others. The Freight and Salvage (website www.thefreight.org) has many good Celtic
music concerts, and kids of all ages are welcome. If you go to The Freight's web
site, you can find sample songs of some upcoming shows. Old Blind Dogs is playing
at The Freight next week, in fact. I will be at Wednesday's show (but probably
without my son, who is 5 months old and not a Celtic music fan yet). Email me if
you want to go with me.
Also, every September, there's a great Celtic music festival, again very kid-friendly,
up in Sebastopol. Their web site is here:
I am looking for recommendations for fun recorded music for my child who is 2.5
years. She has enjoyed Music Together and we also listen to Raffi and the Wiggles,
but I would love some new ideas. I know there is great music out there for young
children. Thank you!
Toddler loves to sing & dance
Our 2 y.o. is also a Music Together kid, and we love ALL Dan
Zanes, Laurie Berkner, Gunnar Madsen and Ralph's World (Ralph
Covert). If I had to pick 2 CDs, I'd pick Victor Vito by
Laurie Berkner and Night Time by Dan Zanes, but you really
can't go wrong with any of the above.
Good musicianship and intonation, as well as fun, were a priority
for us! We bought re-issued CDs or made cassettes of Peter, Paul
& Mary, Burl Ives, and the Kingston Trio that our daughter has
loved. She was also in a program called Music Time that taught a
repertoire of wonderful learning songs, and issued cassettes. As
far as I know, Jon at Jon's School of Music (www.jsom.com) is now
teaching this curriculum. Enjoy!
My grandmother just sent my son a 4-cd set called ''101 Toddler
Favorites''. He loves it! It's from a company called Music For
Little People and i checked out their website and they have
many choices - www.mflp.com
My son also likes the children's albums by Dan Zanes.
Yahoo has an entire section on children's music and children's
ren_s/). I am unfamiliar with some of the performers/groups
listed there and the list does not include Ella Jenkins whom I
have always thought of as one of the premiere music makers for
children, so I am not sure how good the list is. Ella has her
own website (http://www.ellajenkins.com/) from which it is
possible to order her albums--she is wonderful and children
love her and her music.
For live music and performance for kids, the Crowden Music
Center in Berkeley offers a concert series, Sundays at 4.
These concerts feature a classical chamber-music repertoire by
prominent Bay Area musicians, not children's music per se, but
the programs are designed to be family-length & family-friendly
and children (up to 18) are free. The 2004-05 schedule is
posted in the calendar section at
http://www.crowdenmusiccenter.org and you can e-
mail ''firstname.lastname@example.org'' to get on the list to
receive announcements and concert reminders via e-mail.
Crowden also offers ''Music Together'' and ''Music for Children''
(Orff Schulwerk, Kodaly) classes for very young children in
addition to individual lessons and a host of
beginning/exploratory music classes for ages 6 and up.
We like Dan Zanes (House Party, Rocket Ship Beach) and
the Putumayo brand World Playground series.
Hi - our daughter (and we) love all the Laurie Berkner cds -
they are readily available and are all terrific.
I am interested in other recommendations but my 2 1/2 year old
son's current favorite it ''Free to be you and me'' by Marlo
Thomas and friends (I believe). I remember listening to it when
I was a kid so it is an oldie but goodie. He also likes Woodie
Guthrie songs for young people or something like that.
My friend Lane makes great, inventive music for kids. My 16mo is
already a fan. Plus, his music appeals to grownups, too - I've
been at parties where kids and adults alike boogied down when
his music was playing. His CD ''Bulldozers & Bugs'' is a good
mix of fun original tunes like ''Hug a Bug'' and adaptations of
old favorites like The Rascals' ''A Beautiful Morning.'' More
info/purchase at CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/lanem
I can't wait to read the other recommendations you receive! In my quest for
music that both my toddler and I will listen to over and over and over and over
again without getting sick of, I have discovered Ralph's World. I believe he has
about 4 different CDs. LOVE IT!
-I don't think Fruit Salad is all that yummy.
Gymboree has some great music CD's that are used in class. They
represent lots of different musical styles including Cajun-
Zydeco, Rhythm & Blues, African, etc. They also have CD's of
Parachute Express that does wonderful children's music (without
being too sing-songy!). They can be purchased at the play
centers or possibly through www.gymboree.com.
Dan Zanes!! especially the CDs ''Rocket Ship Beach'' and ''Family
Dance'' Made for children and adults to enjoy together.
Our favorites for the last couple of years have been anything
by Dan Zanes--Rocketship Beach, Family Dance, etc. More
recently we discovered Philadelphia Chickens, silly music from
Sandra Boynton and friends.
For great kid's music (that won't drive you insane) you can't
go wrong with any of the Dan Zanes cds. He's a former rock
musician (lead man of the Del Fuegos -- remember them?) who
plays a great mix of his own songs, american folk tunes and
traditional music from around the world. As an added bonus, the
cds feature lots of famous and familiar voices and are packaged
in board books with great art. Our current favorite is ''House
Party.'' You can hear samples at his website --
mom of a rabid Dan fan
We have had a lot of fun finding alternatives to Raffi. Current
favorite: Jazz for Kids (Verve)-- if you have to listen to Old
McDonald, Ella Fitzgerald is the way to go. Also, Ain't Nobody
Here but Us Chickens (Louis Jordan) and What a Wonderful World
(Louis Armstrong). We found it at Hear Music in Berkeley --
they will let you listen to every CD in the store.
The Ellipsis Arts series of Lullabies from around the world
(African Lullabies, Cuban Lullabies, etc).
Taj Mahal has a CD called Shake Sugaree.
Tish Hinojosa has a bilingual CD Cada Nino/Every Child.
Keb Mo' has Big Wide Grin.
Woody Guthrie's songs are great sing-alongs. One CD to check
out is Woody's 20 Grow Big Songs.
Jose Luis Orozco is local and has a near cult following (with
reason). I don't have a recommendation of one CD over the
others, maybe someone else has given this more thought.
Definitely, watch for the announcement of his annual kids'
concert in Berkeley.
Oh, then there's the old standard Peter, Paul and Mommy
(although we listen to their second CD, Peter, Paul and Mommy
Too, more often because we like the slightly blood thirsty The
Fox and the Chilly Night). There's also a concert video.
And then, there is non-kid music which has become popular with
our 3 and a half year old (although I don't think he really
understands the songs The Sinking of the Reuben James and
Deportee) so I recommend continuing to fight for playing time
for non-kid music, too.
Thanks for a great question! I'm looking forward to the other
Anything by Dan Zanes. My 18 month old daughter has been
enjoying his CDs since she was a newborn, but loves them much
more since she has been able to dance and sing to them. We
particularly like House Party and Rocketship Beach. Check out
the reviews on Amazon.
Great responses all! But one name was missing from the
recommendations you received . . . Tim Cain! Tim is a
resident of Marin County and former member of 60's rock
group 'the Sons of Champlin'. We attended several of his ''kids
concerts'' -- casual sing-a-longs -- when our daughter was
younger. She still loves Tim. Check out his website at
www.timcain.com. Also, another artist is ''Wendee'' from So
Cal. Her ''Animal Dance'' CD is a blast. Very upbeat and easy
to sing along with. Every child we've played this for is
hooked! Wendee is available at www.amazon.com. and
My soon to be 12 year old son loves the Beethoven's 9th
Symphony cd he received for Christmas, so much so that he walks
around the house wearing headphones and singing (phonetically,
of course) the choral portion of Ode to Joy. I know NOTHING
about classical music but I would like to encourage his
interest by getting him some more cds. Any recommendations?
Your 12-year-old son likes Beethoven's 9th symphony, and you
want to know where to go from there. This is a wide-open
question, and it's hard to know where to start, as so much
depends on your son's likes and dislikes. It is encouraging
that he likes this Beethoven symphony, as it shows that he has
the attention span required to listen repeatedly to a piece of
music that's over an hour long. That kind of patience will help
him discover classical music in some depth.
Since he goes around singing the choral part of the Beethoven
symphony, one obvious direction to go is more choral music.
There's nothing else quite like Beethoven's ''Ode to Joy''
theme, but I'd recommend Mozart's Requiem and Mozart's Mass in
C minor, Haydn's Nelson Mass, Schubert's Mass in E flat (No.
6), Brahms's German Requiem, Berlioz's Requiem, Verdi's
Requiem, Mahler's Symphony #2, and Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.
If he likes the Mahler then you'll know he's hooked for life.
Another direction to take is more symphonies. Beethoven wrote
nine of them, and they are all masterpieces. But the first
eight are just instrumental, with no singing. I recommend
getting a full set, but if you prefer to branch out slowly then
I'd start with #3, #5, and #6. If he likes these then branch
out to more Beethoven (the five piano concertos, the violin
concerto), Mozart (symphonies 39-41), Haydn (the London
symphonies), Schubert (the 9th symphony), Mendelssohn
(symphonies 3-4), and Tchaikovsky (symphonies 4-6).
There are vast other worlds of classical music out there, but
this might get you started.
Then there's the problem of how actually to buy this music.
There are so many recordings of each piece. Which one to get,
and from where? There's a wide range in both price and quality,
and price and quality don't necessarily correlate. These days,
you can't rely on store salespeople for any intelligent
guidance through the classical section. I usually point
beginners to Naxos (www.naxos.com). It's a great budget label
that really takes classical music seriously, and it's almost
always a safe bet. Their CDs cost $7 or so and are often in a
section by themselves in stores. At least with Naxos you won't
make the mistake of paying $18 for a pedestrian performance,
which is a lot more common than you might think.
There's much more to say, but it all depends on what triggers
your son's interest. I hope he has the same experience I had
when I was that age (and with parents who were baffled by it).
Good for your son! I was also into classical music when I was
his age. Here are a few pieces that I liked at the time:
*These are a little more restrained but I loved them as a child*:
Mozart- symphonies #38-41 (incl. ''Prague'', ''Jupiter'')
Mozart- horn concertos
Bach- Brandenberg Concertos
*If you want to stick to Beethoven*:
''Appassionata'' and ''moonlight'' sonatas (solo piano)
Beethoven symphony #5 (starts with famous, dramatic theme in
Beethoven symphony #6 ''Pastoral''
Beethoven symphony #7
Beethoven ''Kreutzer'' sonata (for piano and violin)
Beethoven symphony #6 ''Pastoral''
Beethoven piano concertos #4 and #5 (''Emperor'')
Mahler- Songs of a Wayfarer
Mussorgsky- Pictures at an Exhibition
Gershwin- Rhapsody in Blue
*Other solo piano*:
Many of these will be available at a public library so that you
can see whether he likes something before making an investment.
Go to the Musical Offering in Berkeley, on Bancroft across from
Lower Sproul, and ask the staff there for their advice.
Fantastic little classical music store.
Also, would your son enjoy singing in a choir? Many school and
community chorus opportunities exist, even for kids with no
prior musical training. There are *so* many benefits to that
kind of experience, it's really worth your while to investigate
Lifelong amateur musician
How about Beethoven's other 8 symphonies.
Don't have any CD recommendations, but you might be interested
to know that the California Symphony is scheduled to perform
Beethoven's 9th in Walnut Creek in May.
Vivaldi - The Four Seasons and Mozart. And if he really gets
into it, piano lessons (on a real piano if you can). Being able
to play the piano will open up a whole new world to him of
musical instruments - if he wants to play. Also, 'don't know if
you live in Brk or Oakland, but the Oakland Symphony does a
variety of shows geared towards kids or encouraging local kids
to come and play with the symphony. They have a brilliant
director who is very community oriented and the tickets are very
Classical Music Mommy
My daughter is hankering for some more big-girl type pop music.
I'm a bit out of touch with what's cool, although we have a good
record collection and have mined it on her behalf. What I don't
want is to introduce her prematurely to a lot of
precociously ''sexy'' themes/self-presentation. I saw the
recommedations on the website re The Spice Girls, but does
anyone have any other ideas? She seems to be more interested in
female singers than male, and wants ''danceable'' music.
cautious but open-minded
We (9 yr. old and 43 yr. old) like Avril Lavigne, Sheryl Crow,
Penelope Houston, Norah Jones, Hilary Duff... You get the idea.
And Dan Zanes.
try the ''cheetah girls'' soundtrack, it doesn't have a lot of
songs but i know young girls like it. also, mandy moore is a
safe bet, she's (in my opinion) one of the most poised and
thoughtful young female pop stars today. her latest cd -
''coverage'' are remakes of old hits you may be familiar with.
And the most heated she gets is ''i have a crush on you'' - no
rubbing or bumping from her! Disney also regularly
produces ''young'' pop stars that are less well known to the
general public- but i bet you can find them on their website.
pop music can be fun !
Try Avril Lavigne. My 8yr old really likes it and Avril is a
much more positive (i.e. non-Brittney) role model. We all sing
along to ''Sk8terboi. Her other favorites that we can all listen
to include: rolling stones, chery crow, dixie chicks, indigo
girls and nelly furtado. She has recently discovered
RadioDisney (1310 a.m.), but I can't stand it.
Help! I need recommendations for (anti-Britney) music for my
seven-year old girl. My tastes run to the 17th century and to
blues, salsa, and Celtic--all of which my daughter likes. But
she is beginning to understand ''cool'', ''hip'', and hears a bit of
music from friends and cousins. I would love to turn her on to
good (read: not Britney, Baha Men, etc.--ugh) current female
artists (rock,pop) who sing about things other than boys and
Hi, I'm sure you'll be getting many recommendations, but here
are mine (have 7 yr. old daughter too, and 3 yr. old son). Dan
Zanes!!! He has 3 cds out, working on a 4th, used to be in the
Del Fuegos, always has lots of great guest artists on his cds.
We all love his music, particularly a duet w/Sandra Bernhardt
about thrift store shopping. My son of course could care less,
but I think Avril Lavigne is a good anti-Britney. She's only 16
or 17 so hopefully her songs will mature as she does. Have fun!
Mom who loves Dan Zanes' Music
One website that could help guide you and your daughter a bit is
www.allmusic.com. If you know an artist or a band that she
likes, you can search for them and then it will give other
artists that are similar to them.
Some cool female musicians and girl bands she might check out
Ani Difranco (folksy, rock, good feminist messages. Has her own
label, plays all her music, etc.)
Luscious Jackson (kind of indie pop, kind of hip-hop. All girl
Bjork (used to be in the Sugarcubes, now a solo artist)
Cibo Mato (all girl band from Japan. pop)
Lisa Loeb (pop. Lots of adolescent girls like her)
Sleater-Kinney (rock. all girl band)
In a more folksy, singer songwriter vein...
Shawn Colvin, Michelle Shocked, Suzanne Vega, Lucinda Williams,
Aimee Mann, Beth Orton
She might also like more mainstream stuff like No Doubt or Avril
or Jewel, which I'm sure she's heard on the radio.
There's so much more, but that's probably overwhelming enough.
We are all really liking the soundtrack to Legally Blonde.
Some sample lyrics from a soul-ly number
''Don't need you to tell me I'm pretty/to make me feel
From a hard rocker: ''I am everything that I wanna be/I am
confidence and security/I am a voice yet waiting to be heard/
I shoot the shot-bang-that you hear round the world/and i'm
a one-girl revolution''
As you can tell, I've heard these several thousand times. It
grows on you, and is very girl-hip.
I'm not quite as hip as I used to be, but here are some good ones:
India Irie (REALLY good message in a song about learning to love yourself)
Hope that helps!
There is some really good ''cool girl music'' out right now. My 7
and 10 year old daughters love Vanessa Carlton and Michelle
Branch. Both are very conservative (unlike Britney and
Christina) and do not sing about sex! They do sing about boys
but in an innocent manner. Vanessa Carlton is a pianist and
writes her own music. Michelle Branch also writes her own music
and plays guitar. I think they are much better role models then
other choices and they also dress ''normal''. If your daughter
likes pop music and you want something that won't be dirty or to
mature then this is a good compromise.
No Doubt has a very cool singer, Gwen Stefani. Michelle Branch
is talented, Erykah Badu is great, and Norah Jones a wonder.
They all sing about boys, sometimes, though. Does that
automatically exclude them from your approval? PLEASE do not
censor your daughter’s music! I can understand that you
wouldn't want your 7 year old listening to sexually explicit
lyrics. But outside of that, are you really going to try to ban
bubble gum pop a la Britney? Just because a girl listens to pop
songs doesn't mean she's going to grow up to be a twit. Growing
up, my friends and I listened to all types of music, including
pop. And we all grew up to be deep [;)], highly educated women
with non-fluffy careers, working with the indigent, victims of
crime, in medicine, and to save the environment. Music is
essential to life. Restricting your daughter to certain, mom-
approved genres would be like letting your child breathe only on
odd-numbered days. So go ahead, crank up that Ketchup song,
and have fun dancing with your daughter around the house!
Could folks recommend some good children's music
that is not too maddening for Mom to listen to? I have a 7-month old.
Also if you have ideas for where I might find your recommendations used
or otherwise inexpensively? any ideas much appreciated. thanks -- Anon
My personal favorite is the Putumayo "World Playground" collection.
Some music we (infant/child and parents alike) have really enjoyed: "Latin
Lullabies" and "Lullabies for Little Dreamers" for naps and bedtime; "Cool
Jazz Cats"; "Reggae for Kids". Enjoy! Pamela
Try Kathy Kallick: Use your Napkin, not your Mom and What do you Dream about
Baby. II think that's the title. Also 1, 2, 3 for Kids by the Chenille
Sisters. Taj Mahal also has a CD out for kids. These are available at Down
Home Music in El Cerrito. They have a wonderful selection of kids' music,
and I think they let you listen before you buy.
I highly recommend Music for Little People for inspiration
We've gotten some wonderful cd's from them. Pete Seeger,
David Grisman, and Los Lobos are favorites with all of
us. My kids (7 and 2) have recently latched onto Dave
Alvin's latest cd (Public Domain) which is not aimed at
all at children, in fact is quite dark and serious, but
they love many of the songs and will clamor for them in
the car. Music appreciation is big in our lives and my
husband and I have always played music that we enjoyed,
the kids along the way have developed quite eclectic
tastes, from folk and bluegrass, classical, and rock.
A great place for used children's records, tapes and CDs
is Toy-Go-Round on Solano Ave. in Albany. They have a
We received "Sleep, Baby, Sleep" by Nicolette Larson as
a gift when our son was born. He loved it, and still
does to this day, especially as part of his goodnight
routine. My son is 14 months old now. By now, you have
probably heard some Raffi music. If his songs are up
your alley, we really like "One Light, One Sun." Have
fun. May we suggest you have friends burn some of their
CD's for you? That makes music very reasonably priced.
Re Good music - I understand the need for good music -
after one 1500 mile trip with my daughter, my brother
and his girlfriend, we, all five of us, emerged with a
tendency to break into a chorus at the slightest
encouragement eg "Ducks like RAIN, ducks like RAIN,
ducks like to widdle-waddle IN the RAIN..." It has a
strange effect on your social life. Anyway, Raffi (the
Canadian) was a winner and had several tapes out when my
kids were small - the tapes were short so we did some
sharing and copying onto longer tapes with friends to
make something that lasted for long car trips. I found
"Wee Sing" to be abominable - although I believe there
are people that like it. Woody Guthrie songs are of
course simple and good. My daughter got fascinated
with video musicals and we transferred the music part
of the soundtrack of "Sound of Music" to tape. She
also loved the Carnival of the Animals. W! e ! also
had a number of tapes put out by the Australian
Broadcasting Corporation (Franciscus Henri, Playschool)
who also did a collection of lullabies (they're available
on the web, but would probably be too Aussie for the
unitiated.) What I liked about them was that they sang
in tune. Many "kids" tapes mistakenly feature adults
and/or kids singing horribly out of tune, as if kids and
their parents deserved really second-rate music. Babies
vary a lot in what they like though - the most effective
lullaby for my daughter at six months was heavy metal
rock music. Just keep trying stuff that YOU like and
you'll find some winners.
In terms of cost - the public library has tapes and cds
you can borrow to try. You'll want your own, though,
if she likes it, because when babies like things they
like them OVER and OVER. We were given some second-hand
tapes of stories (Horton the Elephant and Ali Baba)
which were very popular with our kids for a year or so,
but didn't last the distance, finally spaghettifying our
tape player and causing disappointed howls and screams
from the back seat. So new is best, given how much
wear they'll get. If you can duplicate old worn out
tapes though, that might work well. Cds don't have as
much of this problem.
My 2 year old has really enjoyed a compilation of music
for children by Music for Little People, and the album
is their 15th Anniversary Celebration. It has a really
nice eclectic of music by some fairly well-known artists
including Buckwheat Zydeco, Maria Muldaur, Ladysmith
Black Mambazo, John McCutcheon, Sweet Honey on the Rock,
etc. We've enjoyed it a lot. I also just got her a
Tom Chapin CD which she has been requesting to hear
quite a bit. I don't remember the name but it has a
song on it called "This Pretty Planet." We're also a
fan of Phil Rosenthal who did a folksongs and bluegrass
for children album. I was also on Amazon.com recently
looking at children's music. They have a great selection
and some of the CDs you can buy used. If you have the
technology for this, you can also download some music
for their site and they have a whole list of children's
music that c! an! be downloaded for free. Good luck!
Free to be you and me
Betsy Rose has a lovely CD/tape out for children, and
Raffi's tapes are wonderful too. Peter, Paul and Mary
have a great tape for kids with Puff the Magic Dragon.
I know what you mean about the kid's music out there in
general...and I never played any of those for my child.
I wanted him to hear REAL music from the get go, so in
addition to some very select children's tapes, I played
all kinds of music for him from Native American flute
and drums to Celtic musice, and now at 9 yrs of age he
loves a very diverse span of music. I don't know why
some people think kid's music needs to be silly for them
to enjoy it.
Disney Radio if you can get it to come in. My daughter loves it. She's 8.
They play a lot of music kids can dance around to (and sing along). My
daughter also likes celtic music (we go to the Scottish gatherings a lot)
which means the Coors (three sisters and a brother band, real big over in
Europe). She pretty much likes everything we've exposed her to which is
great as I don't have to listen to too much music I don't like.
Barnes and Nobles has a good music section for kids as well if you're
looking for more juvenile songs like toddler or baby music. James Taylor and
several other rock artists have albums out for children which you might
enjoy. (I like House on Pooh Corner, very sweet).
Experiemnt witht he radio one day and see what your child responds to and
have fun with it.
I typed this list up for my mother's group a while back--hope it is useful:
Here are some names of singers I like who do kid's stuff, or are more
"folksy" types of kids singers (many are "regular" singers with kid's albums,
so you may want to be sure you're getting kid's songs in specific, if that is
what you are looking for--I have some of their "other" albums, which are also
nice, but not all are in the vein of kid's music):
My favorite is Priscilla Herdman--her voice is stunning. Her 3 most popular
kids albums are Star Dreamer, Day Dreamer, and Moon Dreamer. I have all
three, I just love her voice and the songs are lovely.
John McCutcheon is also great, I really love his stuff, including, Mail
myself to you, The Best so far (or something)--greatest hits from before
1989--not a kids album per se, but with lots of kids songs on it, intermixed
with others and I like that, AutumnSongs (he has the other 3 seasons on other
CDs but we don't have these yet), etc.
Peter Alsop has a sort of satirical style (you have to sorta like that), with
albums such as WhaD'ya wanna Do (may be for kids a bit older)
Bill Harley is also for kids a bit older, but is a wonderful storyteller as
well as singer. I know him personally and think he is a wonderful person as
well as performer. Can't remember titles at this moment, but hae has a great
Sally Rogers has a lovely voice and some nice "PC" types songs (not annoying,
just espousing an eco-consciousness type values). Albums include At Quiet
O'clock, Piggyback planet, etc.
I also really like Sarah Pirtle. Her albums can be hard to find, but really
lovely in my book--and worth the trouble to find. Some include: The Wind is
Telling Secrets, This Pretty Planet, Peace by Peace, etc.
Hap Palmer (We're on our Way),
Ella Jenkins (many different ones, has a more "multicultural" sound)
Sweet honey in the Rock (all for Freedom (?))
Kenny Rogers (More songs from Pooh Corner)
Heather Forrest is a great storyteller and has some nice strong female
characters in her tales
Pete Seeger (I think that's his name--he's the brother of the more "popular"
singer, so I may have mixed-up the names, will check on this) (can't think of
titles off hand),
Tom Chapin (Moonboat, Family Garden),
The Roaches--Scott loves the song Uncle Dave, he misbehaved (have to check on
the album title)
Rich Charlotte (alligator shoes, (I think that is what it is called))
All of the above are also in this "Folksy" vein.
Nancy Griffith doesn't sing kids songs, but has a folksy lithe to her singing
that would probably also work for kids.
I have heard great things about the PutaMayo (spelling?) collection--they
emphasize differing styles of music on their various CDs, and they have a
kid's CD now as well. Don't have any, but have heard they are great.
Along similar lines, we have really liked the Classical kids story
collection--stories overlaid on appropriately included classical excerpts
from specific composers. You have to be into listening to stories, they
aren't just music, but our daughter has loved these CDs since she was a
newborn. We got them as birth gifts, which is good because we never would
have bought them for her because I thought they were too trendy in that way I
tend to dislike. I have been proved wrong. Anyway, that should certianly
get you started! Good Luck. As for places to find them, Half.com has lots
of stuff like that relatively cheap.
I have a low Wee Sing threshold, too
Putumayo has 2 CDs of kid-friendly world music, both
called World Playground. I found mine used at Rasputin's
and I've also seen them at Hannah's on Solano. There's
also a collection of lullabies put out by Ellipsis Arts:
African Lullaby, Brazilian Lullaby, etc. that are quite
easy to listen to. Another good lullaby CD is entitled
"Lullaby: a Collection" which has songs by Bobby McFerrin,
Loreena McKennit, Judy Collins and others; it's put out
by Music for Little People and I've seen it at Rockridge
However, the hands-down favorite at our house (and
in our car!)
these days is the soundtrack from "O Brother, Where
Art Thou?" Great for singing, jumping around, and
generally getting silly.
Anything by Ella Jenkins (Smithsonian label) or Nancy
Raven, Sweet Honey and the Rock. I even enjoy Nancy
Cassidy although you've got to be in the mood. Pete
Seegar collection -- there is a children's music label
that Hearthsong sells that is also good. The soundtrack
from Shrek is great for older kids.
From: Kimberly (6/99)
Rosie Hippos catalogue has wonderous wooden toys books and a great
selection of Real music for children (sweet honey and the rock, buckwheat
zydeco, pete seeger, jimmy buffet etc etc). Their phone number is 1-800-385-2620.
From: Leah (6/99)
Jane Timberlake is a local songwriter who has four wonderful tapes: "Al the
Alligator", "9 Green Fingers and 47 Toes", "Carpet of Dreams", and "Our
Songs". Although their greatest appeal is with the over 3 set, my 27 month
old son, Max (who is her grandson) loves them. They are silly,
intelligent, and kindhearted songs many of which were inspired by living in
the Berkeley/Oakland area. She use to be a head teacher at Step One
Preschool, but now brings the joy of music to children by way of her
"Singing Circles". Her singing circles are for groups of children ages 1
through 8. I'm not sure what stores carry her tapes, but you can call her
at (510) 654-0322 if your interested in them, or if you want more info
about "Singing Circles".
From: Natasha (12/98)
Someone wrote in recently, either to the UCB Parents or Virtual Village,
asking about good music for kids. We are currently enjoying a CD called
"The Earth is Our Home" by Robbie Dunbar, a local dad, a talented
musician and a heck of a nice guy. (He is also the man everyone keeps
recommending as a great piano teacher for kids). Robbie's music is like,
well, Robbie: kid-friendly, humorous, kind, fun to be around (and it had
better be, since we end up listening to it over and over and over again).
I just found out that Robbie will be performing at Gaia Bookstore this
Saturday at 3:00. I think he'll be performing some of his own music,
which blends folk, rock, and lullabies, as well as holiday music. Gaia is
at 1400 Shattuck at Rose in Berkeley. I just called Gaia to confirm it,
and they mentioned you can hear a sample of Robbie's music at
Other music which is high on kid pleasure, low on saccharin content, and
hold up to being played over and over: Greg Brown's CD "Bathtub Blues",
anything by Burl Ives or Pete Seegar, Peter and the Wolf (version
narrated by Sting or the one with Patrick Stewart), Smithsonian Folkway's
children's music collection, Schoolhouse Rock, Capitol sings Kids Songs
for Grownups, Prairie Lullaby (Joe Weed, Norton Buffalo, Bryan Bowers),
Rhino Records' Cowboy Album, Little Richards' "Shake it All About" album.
Two great sources for are Hear Music on 4th Street and Down Home Music
on San Pablo.
For music, Gary Lapow has several tapes and CDs out that kids of all ages
and even adults love. They are cute and many songs promote social
awareness. Gary is local and performs throughout the Bay Area.
Concerning toddler CD's...
There are loads of good ones out there. Our daughter (and we)
particularly liked "Not for Kids Only" by Jerry Garcia and
David Grisman, and "On the Sunny Side" by Maria Muldaur and
friends. Happy listening!
My personal favorite cds for kids are (actually, I think they're personal
favorites for me as well): "Not for Kids Only" by Jerry Garcia & David
Grisman, and Beausoleil's "Le Hoogie Boogie - Louisiana French Music for
Children" I take one song on Beausoleil's cd, slow it way down, and sing
it in English for the best lullabye ever. It's guaranteed. I forget the
name of the tune, but you can change "Oh my pretty ladies" to "Oh my little
baby" and if you have the cd you'll know what I'm talking about.
In response to the request for good local CD's of
songs and music enjoyed by toddlers and babies.
I especially recommend Sharon, Lois, and Bram (Canadian). They are a
fabulous trio with great harmonies. We still sing them as a family and my
kids are 8 & 13. Also Raffi (Canadian also) is good but his voice may be
difficult to listen to for extended periods of time.
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