Not All Kids’ Music is Lame

Blitzen’s Boogie is a great introduction to blues, jazz and big band tonalities for kids. Just in time for the holidays.

For non-classical musicians, the best predictor of whether a student is going to succeed at learning an instrument is whether or not they listen to music played on the instrument they want to learn. It’s also important that they’re exposed to relevant musical styles.

Many kids who want to learn guitar don’t listen to anything except loop-based, computer-generated music, or kids’ music. The problem with this kind of music is that it usually isn’t performed. Instead, it’s created by copying, pasting, looping and rendering.

Parents should ask themselves, “Who is deciding what my kids listen to?” Most kids just listen to whatever their friends listen to. Their friends are listening to whatever people are marketing to kids. You wouldn’t want your kids eating only food that’s marketed to kids. But that’s what’s happening with their musical diets, unless there’s some other influence on what they listen to.

The main predictor of success is listening to music that isn’t loop-based, quantitized, or over-produced, and which preserves the subtleties and nuances of real instruments. Serious modern musicians should be familiar with music that draws on elements of established styles, most importantly, the styles that emerged between 1940 and 1990.