Getting Our Kids to Love the Classics

When I hear the song “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones, I think of the manual crank-windows of my dad’s truck, and the smell of old coffee set into warm, sun-soaked seats. My dad would sing every “ooo ooo” in the song, and drum rhythmically on his steering wheel. He’d always say “this is the best part right here” with a thick Boston accent, and turn the volume up. We would be on our way to some youth sports game, and I’d be sitting in the front seat unknowingly storing the song into my mental music library while simultaneously creating a lifelong bond over music with my dad. We didn’t ever talk too much in the car, but we’d listen to music and sometimes he’d tell me all about the bands he saw birthed in Boston like Aerosmith, The Pixies, and the J. Geils Band. It was the coolest I’d ever felt. Now that I’m a Mom myself, I can’t help but think about how important it will be for my son to like all of the music my dad and I loved, as well as all of the music that means so much to me today. I wonder, how are we going to teach our kids to love the classics? Well, here’s my plan:

Make it a game.

As a kid, we’d play the “who sings this” game in the car all of the time. It was a great way to familiarize ourselves with the signature sounds of musicians, and unique voices of lead singers. Plus, if you guessed it right you were essentially the favorite child for that brief moment in time.

Do it while they’re young.

There is a fleeting moment during childhood where kids hang on the every word of their parents. They want to be just like Mom or Dad. Seize that moment, because soon they will become hormonal teenagers who will purposefully hate anything that you like.

Do it for nostalgia’s sake.

Maybe it’s just a 90’s kid thing, but there is so much beauty in nostalgia. Music is a huge part of my childhood and is tied into very specific memories. Play the songs you want your kids to love while they’re having the time of their lives! It will forever be burned into their memories.

Make it a bonding experience.

Maybe you’re outside playing catch, or in the kitchen baking cookies, whatever you’re doing play your music, sing and dance with them. They will correlate the music with spending quality time with you, which honestly is a really big deal to them.

Let the music do the talking

As I mentioned before, my dad and I didn’t talk much in the car. We never went into really deep conversations, but we did have our music (and making fun of my mom). Every silence doesn’t need to be filled with your kids, especially as they get older. A lull in conversation is the opportune time to turn on an oldie but goodie. 

As parents, we strive to do our kids justice in the music department. One can only hope that when our kid walks into a party, she’ll be known as the resident DJ. We pray that they’ll be more alt/indie than Top 40; they do have to get through college after all.

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