Our son, Nico, is 17 months old and he absolutely adores music. He claps his hands and dances everytime he hears even the shortest jingle. There is always music playing in our house. My wife, Michelle, and I are both musicians and between the two of us we have a wide breadth of tastes and influences. Luckily, Nico likes it all. Whether it’s Metallica or Coltrane, he dances, jumps or bobs his head to the beat (a slick move his babysitter taught him). I once used my guitar to lull him to sleep playing the Rolling Stones’ “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” a song I ironically use to get my adrenaline going.
As musicians with a child who is showing promise in that direction, we are always on the look out for musical toys and entrainment. We’ve gotten him toy xylophones, guitars, bells, a Kazoo, and countless percussion instruments. One of his favorite toys is the Fisher Price Little Superstar Jammin Band Piano. He absolutely loves it. Every time my wife and I pull out our instruments he runs to find it and joins us in a jam. It’s great as it allows him to feel included while helping him to develop his musical skills.
Nico also loves his Muno’s Groovin’ Guitar (Spin Master), a toy guitar which plays song excerpts from Yo Gabba Gabba, a show that Nico can’t get enough of. We try to keep Nico from watching television, but Yo Gabba Gabba is the one exception. I love the fact that they have Mark Mothersbaugh (of Devo fame), Elijah Wood (aka Frodo from Lord of the Rings) and Biz Markie (rapper of the 80’s classic “Just a Friend” ) on the program to teach kids to draw, dance and beat box, respectively. The show uses music in such a way that builds on children’s kinesthetic skills, like dancing, wiggling and holding still. Yo Gabba Gabba also creatively implements preschool fundamentals, such as colors, numbers, shapes, and sounds, and it introduces kid-friendly vocabulary. Its hip theme is refreshing and is helping to spark some life into a generally bland genre of preschool television, a genre that hasn’t been cool since Sesame Street in the mid 70’s.
I’m glad Nico naturally gravitates towards music, and because he does, I will continue to encourage it. Who knows, one day when he’s older maybe he’ll let his old man jam with his band.