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Right now, whenever I take my daughter somewhere in the car, we listen to CD's with children's songs (The ABC Song, Twinkle Twinkle, Open Shut Them, etc). While these songs are good, the CDs have been played quite a bit and sometimes it seems like she's bored with them. When is it OK to introduce non-children's music? Does it really matter?

Now when I say non-children's music, I'm referring to G-rated pop, soft rock (Train), or folk music (Bob Dylan). I'm not referring to gangsta-rap or death metal (not that there is anything wrong with them, a toddler is just not the appropriate audience).

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There's a series of Lullaby-style renditions of classic rock albums that serve as a good compromise. –  Noah May 23 at 16:33
    
@noah I like the sound of that. Do you have some links? –  ChristopherW May 24 at 0:40
    
@ChristopherW here's one:amazon.com/Rockabye-Baby-Lullaby-Renditions-Ramones/dp/… –  Beofett May 24 at 1:57
    
@Beofett That's the brand! –  Noah May 24 at 20:00

2 Answers 2

up vote 14 down vote accepted

When is it OK to introduce non-children's music?

Immediately.

Seriously, there is absolutely no reason to "ease" your kids into music gradually.

We started our son our with everything from John Williams, to Frank Sinatra, to The Ramones, starting before he was born and continuing right up to today (he's three).

We mixed in children's music (for example, there's a duet album by David Grisman and Jerry Garcia playing a variety of children's songs that all three of us loved to sing along to), but he only really started liking more "traditional" children's music, and asking for it specifically, when he hears it on the radio, youtube, or during a TV show or movie (which is why I am utterly sick of any song from Frozen at this point!).

My son, at this point, happily listens to, or even sings, a variety of music from songs from Cars and Frozen, to silly songs like The Duck Song or The Toast Song.

There's even been some (controversial) research onto the impact of "adult" music on children. See The Mozart Effect for a classic example (sorry for the pun!).

However, if you start your child off on music geared towards children, and only later introduce "adult" music, you may meet with some resistance. Children (at least mine) tend to like what is familiar, unless convinced otherwise.

Some children's radio stations (we have XM radio, and listen to a channel that I believe is called "Kids' Place Live") do a decent job of mixing in a fairly wide variety of songs, from classic standards that are kid-friendly, to current (and not-so-current) Disney soundtracks, to age-appropriate pop-songs (it was our introduction to "What Does the Fox Say?", which my son finds hysterical).

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Anecdotal evidence - my kids listened to adult music alongside child music since birth. And I'm referring to Queen, Beatles, Elivis, Led Zep, Mozard, Bach, Webber, John Williams. They kept pretty much the same tastes through preschool. Their most effective Lullaby was Gershwin's "Summertime" –  user3143 May 23 at 15:30
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My daughter sleeps VERY well in the car listening to Dream Theater and Liquid Tension Experiment. –  Noah May 23 at 16:33
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I agree 100% with Beofett! Mine also had everything from birth: from Metallica to Mendelsson, Beethoven to Brant Bjork etc - there is absolutely no reason not to (possibly excluding songs with swearing). My eldest is not almost 14 and loves all music (from Jazz to thrash metal, classical, baroque - you name it) and loves coming to music festivals with me and meeting not only his heroes, but mine as well. –  Rory Alsop May 23 at 21:01
    
I was playing Bob Dylan's Biograph set in the car today. I think we have a new fan. –  ChristopherW May 25 at 0:42

You can try introducing whatever music you like whenever you like! You child may not like the music, though. For example, my LO doesn't like Metallica. She seemed frightened when I played Ride the Ligtning.

Remember to moderate the volume so that the music's not too loud. Same goes, later on, for headphones.

If you want to get your LO introduced to classical music, I really recommend Raimond Lap's CDs. They're not all classical, but they're all instrumental. And they're really, really great to listen to, even for an adult.

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Good idea about watching the volume. Hearing is most sensitive in children and gets worse over a lifetime. Seniors typically have bad hearing. Once the damage from loud noises is done, it cannot be undone, so be careful. –  Kevin Panko May 24 at 0:15

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