Curating Music for Kids
Today is #kidsmusicday, a day dedicated to keeping music education alive. The opportunity for children to learn about music doesn't just happen in schools, and unfortunately it is increasingly common that budget cuts limit or even eliminate music programs altogether. Every day is an opportunity to share the power of music with kids, both in formal and informal settings.
Exposure to music often starts in the home. Whether your family sings along with the car radio, has a piano in the living room, watches musicals, or enjoys music videos on YouTube, you are creating musical experiences. For young people, those moments are often the introduction to important tools and skills that will support development and creativity for years to come. According to a survey of 2,000 adults, 42 percent say they are closer to their loved ones because they share a passion for music, and 32 percent believe it helps them resolve conflicts.
At Feed Media Group, we curate music for industry leaders including American Eagle Outfitters, Mayo Clinic, and Mirror. As more brands go digital and look to personalize their online experiences with music, many are adding kids stations and family friendly options. I asked our team of expert curators to share some of their personal and professional experiences in presenting music for kids.
“Curating for kids is both interesting and challenging. Curating for a target audience of 5 – 11 years old is obviously different from adults. And the span between 5 and 11-year-olds includes a world of difference in what they like and what might resonate for them.
I typically use older music (60s, 70s, and 80s,) as well as super recognizable pop and rock anthems from big artists, soundtracks of favorite movies, kid-classics albums we all love, and the silly songs that only kids understand."
- Arturo Lovazzano, Curation Operations Manager, Feed Media Group
When it comes to family friendly music, we often consider nuances that one wouldn’t have with an adult audience. We obviously can’t use songs with dirty words or obscenities, but we also have to consider the context or theme of the song and exclude anything that references sex, drugs, inappropriate, or condescending themes. As curators, we acknowledge that this can be complex and subjective at times.
"We're fortunate to live in a time when musical stalwarts such as Pharrell, Justin Timberlake, and Sia are the ones making music for a younger generation, presenting positive and influential messages to children with a musical complexity adults can appreciate."
- Dario Slavazza, Ethnomusicologist & Head of Curation, Feed Media Group
It's been proven time and time again that music is a great motivator for our brains and for moving around, and has the ability to focus children.
There are hoards of studies explaining how music increases self-esteem, empathy, perseverance and social skills for children.
“I spent the first years of my son’s life as a stay-at-home dad. A highlight of this experience was creating a “Jack’s Mix” playlist that’s formed the bedrock of his introduction to music. There have been tons of classic kids songs in there—ranging from “Here Comes the Sun” to “Baby Baluga” to “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”—and it’s been a reminder that good music is good music, regardless of era or style.
Kids are incredible sponges and music is no exception. Jack’s favorite music has included “The Cup of Life,” kid-appropriate Prince songs (“Delirious,” “Let’s Work”), a prolonged Idina Menzel period (thanks Frozen and Frozen II!), and his current love of Lady Gaga and Dua Lipa. He also enjoys Bach, Mozart, Debussy, and songs from every cultural tradition I’ve shared with him."
- Eric Stensvaag, Curator & Writer at Feed Media Group.
Picking songs for kids of different ages is a treat. Not surprisingly, for professional curators the song selection begins and ends with pop music. But even within the confines of the genre, there are so many wonderful options…from older pop songs familiar to children of the ‘80s, to today’s pop hits, to the popular KIDZ BOP releases. Keeping the lyrics clean and age-appropriate is crucial, but don’t otherwise feel limited by what kids music ‘“should” be.
Feed Media Group is for businesses that need licensed popular music to create the most engaging customer experiences in their digital apps and physical spaces. We want everyone to experience the power of music.
Feed.fm powers music for the world’s leading brands including American Eagle Outfitters, Mayo Clinic, Mirror, Nautilus and Tonal; and up-and-coming startups use Adaptr to create unique music-based experiences. Our music partners include Warner, BMG, and Kobalt.
Learn more at feedmediagroup.com.