Over the course of the first 5 or so years of performing hundreds of children’s and family children’s music shows I developed a concept for what I believed to be good children’s music. I’ve discussed this with many children’s music artists over the years and found many agree with my list. Here are my four components for good children’s music:
First. I believe that good children’s music should be fun, playful, easy-to-sing, and participatory. I used children’s songs and Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes like these as my model: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Itsy Bitsy Spider, The Wheels on the Bus, and If You’re Happy and You Know it.
Second. I believed children’s music should involve children in the song. That is, engage them with movement or creative language use (rounds, rhyming, or writing verses). These were reflected in songs like: The Itsy-Bitsy Spider, I’m a Little Tea Pot, Old MacDonald, Five Little Monkeys, and Down By the Bay.
Third. I believed children’s music should also offer a learning component. This could be physical learning (fine and gross motor skills), language learning (using songs to promote vocabulary growth), intellectual learning (strengthening the memorization and recall of core concepts like ABCs, Numbers, Colors, Animals, etc.) and creative learning thought through creative use of words to create new lyrics, verses, rhymes and using songs as a foundation to create something new.
Fourth. I believe that good children’s music should be something adults and children can have fun doing together like the children’s song Raindrops. Parental or adult interaction is important to bonding and to a child’s learning. Children’s music provides this powerful opportunity.
Our Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes DVD featuring American Sign Language (ASL) or the nursery rhymes that are on our We Play Along channel are good demonstrations of good children’s music. Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes are great songs, fun to sing, increases early learning and reading readiness, can be used creatively to create new verses and, with ASL, become participatory movement children’s songs.