Soul Train and Other Music for Children

Lately, I’ve been watching Soul Train reruns on Centric.  Most of the episodes I have seen date from when I was my children’s ages.  It’s amazing to hear the music and to see the fashions from that time, and realize that that’s what people were listening to and wearing when I was a baby!!  It’s also interesting for me to hear in that music so many musical ideas that I utilize today whether it’s arrangements or instrumentation.  I have often considered that many people my age play what could be described as neo-soul or soul jazz, because when we were babies, funk and then disco were so popular.  I suppose I think about these things more because I have two children, but it’s amazing the extent to which we, as babies, internalize what surrounds us, and then employ these ideas in some form in our work decades on.

I often wonder what music will influence my children the most.  I grew up listening to a lot of Top 40, and that music – country rock, singer-songwriter, r&b/funk/disco, punk – had a strong impact on what I do today, even though I sing a lot of standards.  My older son at almost three years old is already expressing his preferences for music, and not surprisingly, they reflect me and my husband’s taste.  However, there are obviously things about his listening experience that are different from ours.  When we were kids, hip-hop was a nascent music, outside the mainstream.  Now, it’s incorporated into tv children’s shows.  I spent my childhood sitting around a record player, a radio, and a tape recorder.  My son watches videos on youtube and plays with Garage Band, although he doesn’t know what he’s doing yet!!  Someday, I’m sure he will look at me in disbelief as I explain how a record player worked with the needle and the grooves on the record, etc. 

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