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After 30-some years of teaching, I keep coming back to recorded music that has worked for me and my classes. After hundreds of listenings to many pieces, I have to like it. Or, the children have to love it, which in turn makes me like it. Or, it is musically worthy of being a staple (I do tire of some great music) so I should like it, or I once did. Even a lot.

Taste is a personal thing. So I’m not going to insist you like what I like. That’s crazy talk. Still, like food, you need to keep trying new foods to discover what might eventually become a favorite. Sometimes, even after giving some things a fair shake, you might still not like it. Great. You like it? Great. You don’t like it? Great! Just give the new tunes or styles or sounds a fair shake. This is my advice to parents. You don’t have to like it.

For children though, we could do a tremendous disservice if we try to impose what we like on them. Their taste will be their taste. What’s also a disservice to the children is to not give them enough variety from which to choose. They will likely go through phases of loving a particular group, sometimes for far too long. My daughter loved The Wiggles (I was really worried) for a while. I indulged it. Later, she latched onto The Beatles. I was not a huge fan though I highly valued them (I know). After I played Help!, Sgt. Pepper, Revolver, Rubber Soul, and my favorite, Abbey Road, for the umpteenth time, I had developed a really tasty new side dish to add to my listening pleasures. Listening to her sing along with those albums always made me smile. Your job, and job #1 is for you to model the behaviors you want to see. If you’re not dancing around your child(ren), then they’re missing out.

So here are my recommended playlists of recorded music. In my classes, we have always danced with scarves, shook egg shakers, and played with rhythm sticks. I also think the blues needs to be a staple, and, of course, parents love to have a lullaby playlist for their children. Here are those 5 playlists:

Scarves – for dancing to

Eggies – for shaking egg shakers (or peppercorn jars)

Sticks – for playing rhythm sticks to

Blues – for moving your body

Lullabies – for relaxing to

Dance to it all. Show them how much you love it. Enjoy.