I’m nurturing a rebel. I’m the anti-reverend from Footloose. I let my four-year-old listen to almost any kind of music (with a few exceptions, of course) and I don’t think it’s going to make her anymore apt to hit up a bong or end up incarcerated ten years from now.
My daughter listens to Pink!, Pink Floyd or any other colored band out there (Okay, maybe we’ll put Black Sabbath on the back burner for now). She listens to opera and loves musicals like Phantom of the Opera. She considers Rachmaninoff a treat after she practices piano.
I don’t stop her from singing lyrics from Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance like “I want your loving. I want your disease.” I don’t stop her from singing lyrics from Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe. The later secretly makes me hold a finger pistol to my head with pretend brains flying everywhere, but she loves that song. It’s catchy and she likes to sing it. There is no profanity. It’s just about a psycho girl who wants to talk on the phone with a boy she’s just met. For her, it’s more about the dance party, than the lyrics.
We have never purchased a Dora the Explorer sing-along cd. We’ve never let her listen solely to Disney princess classics. We like the Music Together cds, but they’re definitely not on repeat.
I don’t even like her to watch Dora the Explorer because frankly she is strange and I wish she’d stop talking to me through the TV. Just because she’s rated G doesn’t mean she’s automatically okay for my kid. And, I’m now reading Cinderella Ate My Daughter, so I may soon be selling those Disney movies and just letting her play dress-up. I’m not an extremist on the princess subject, either, but that’s part of another post.
It’s not like I’m handing her a reading list with Lady Chatterley’s Lover at the top. It’s not like I’m showing her Girls Gone Wild videos and teaching her the right way to lift up her top. I’m letting her listen to music and within reason.
For those familiar with the case of the West Memphis Three, teenagers who were wrongfully accused of the murders of three small children in Arkansas, one of the prosecution’s main arguments was that Damien Echols listened to bands like Metallica and that’s what drove him to the murders. What exactly is the percentage of murderers who listen to heavy metal music versus those who don’t? Has that been measured against the number of leaders of environmental and human rights causes that listen to heavy metal music?
No, I am not turning on Metallica for my four-year-old, but if someday that’s the type of music she prefers, then so be it. I can’t remember how many musical phases I went through in my youth. I loved New Wave, only listening to bands like The Cure and New Order. I went through a punk phase, which stuck for a long time, only listening to bands like The Sex Pistols and The Ramones. I even went through a Metallica phase. And, I’m pretty sure I turned out okay. I may be a little strange to some (nothing wrong with a little cuckoo, right?), but I’m definitely not a derelict.
Sometimes when I pick-up my daughter from school and I have bands like Muse on, I feel like I’m being silently judged by her preschool’s administrators for what I let her listen to. Do I turn the music off before they open the door or do I just continue to be myself and let Sing for Absolution rip? Sometimes my daughter even sings Madness, while she’s playing with her toys. She repeats the same line over and over again and it may drive me to “m-m-m-m-madness”, but she’s enjoying herself.
Frankly, I’m happy that my daughter loves all kinds of music. I’m happy that she doesn’t discriminate. I also teach her that music and lyrics are to be enjoyed, they are not to be mimicked in life. It’s entertainment, it’s not scripture.