When I was a kid (think 9-12 years old) my dad took it upon himself to forgo the tapes (yes tapes!) and CDs I had asked for at Christmas and purchase what he thought was good music. He’d often find these gems in the five-dollar bin at places like Canadian Tire, where he did much of his Christmas shopping. And when all my friends were sharing the latest pop music with each other, I was embarrassingly hiding my music collection, which contained artists like James Taylor, Van Morrison, The Eagles and Traveling Willburys. Boy do I appreciate my dad’s interventions now. I suggest you do the same with your children. Grab hold of your kid’s playlist and start adding some real music.
You don’t want to appear too out of touch with “old people” bands, so add George Ezra to the list (yes, I know he’s not really a “band”). He’s young and cute, but has much more substance than the average, cookie-cutter popstar. Of course, “Budapest” is the go-to song, but also consider “Cassy O’” or “Blind Man in Amsterdam” for something a little more fun. Every song from Ezra’s Wanted on Voyage is pretty awesome, so if you can get away with it, add the whole album to your kid’s playlist.
You cannot grow up in Canada and not be a fan of this band. They are the new Tragically Hip (in terms of Canadiana, not in the musical sense). It’s never too early to teach your child a love of the Canadian music scene.
THE WHITE STRIPES/JACK WHITE
Jack White’s musical genius is tough to ignore, even if you aren’t a huge fan. Start your kid off with some White Stripes; their songs usually have a simple, catchy beat that the young ones love. After that, introduce the more creative/weird stuff from Jack White.
More Canadian music never hurt anyone, especially coming from a band led by a cool chick like Emily Haines. It’s important that kids know girls can rock just as hard as guys. The added bonus? The music is pretty awesome.
If you have a kid between the ages of one and 12, chances are you were/are a Nirvana fan. Infiltrating your kid’s playlist with a band you liked as a youth is a good start for musical education. However, depending on your kid’s age, be careful of the content.
MUMFORD & SONS
This band produces catchy, foot-stomping music, which most kids enjoy. Sure, Mumford & Sons are more mainstream now, but exposing your kids to interesting sounds like the banjo and mandolin is a great opportunity to show that there’s more to music than electronics and auto-tune.