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Musical Magic: Getting Youngsters Exposed to Different Genres

Updated on March 22, 2012

I've been listening to music my entire life. Even in the womb my mom listened to music. And since then, I have not stopped. While I enjoy music that became popular in my generation that is popular, I also enjoy music people would not expect me to listen to or know. And that's because I've lived life with ears wide open.

However, as generational gaps widen and radio stations become more narrow in focus it can be harder to introduce young children and teens to music without feeling like you are taking them to the dentist. But it is quite easy to expose kids and teens to different types of music, all you have to do is be creative.

This hub will not be the typical tactics of trying to force feed a genre to someone but creative ways to expose people to different types of music.

Cover Story

As we all know cover songs have been popular throughout the years and in a lot of ways it helps to spark interest in songs of a past generation. As many of us know, one of the most covered acts in the past half century was the Beatles. However, as a recent trending topic on Twitter shows, a lot of people under the age of twenty have no idea about John, Paul, George and Ringo.

So in order to spark interest in the fab four or any act, I would suggest parents and other relatives buying some cover albums or if you have access to internet you can stream songs from online radio by cover artists or if you feel brave enough even try one of those cover group albums they sell on iTunes like the Countdown Singers. And while some of these covers may become part of your playlist, it will definitely pique interest in the original version. And this not only goes for older songs, newer song covers are interesting too. I remember a few years ago hearing a Poison cover of "SexyBack" and being very intrigued.

Not that this will always happen, but somehow when you tell someone something is a cover, they get a little more interested in trying to see how it was originally recorded. And if not, at least you can say you exposed to something a little different.

In Concert

One of my favorite ways to fall in love with music is to go to a concert. I have not been able to go to one as of late but I still get to experience great music by watching concerts on YouTube, television and on DVD. And in some ways that's better than going to a concert. You don't have to worry about foul language, long lines, and expensive refreshments. You can stop and go at your own pace and my favorite thing has to be skipping the filler tracks every musician or band inevitably has.

And for parents and other relatives looking to expose your youth to great music, it makes it that much more accessible than say changing the radio dial. The only thing about current concerts are that ticket prices are really ridiculous but if you know where to look you can win free tickets through your radio station and television station. And sometimes if you contact the chamber of commerce they can give you a group package for tickets.

However if you are like me, you can stalk YouTube long enough and find great concert clips of shows you wanted to see or have on your wish list. The best thing about hearing a live version of a song is that you remember why you fell in love with the song. And hearing an artist strip down the song to it's roots evokes even more powerful emotion.

I would not suggest taking young children to concerts simply because it is a long event with few breaks and lots of sitting or standing and for anyone that gets tiring. If you have a teen who you know is into a lot of music then it is definitely worth a Spring Break trip or a long weekend journey to see your favorite group.

Another way to connect different genres to the youth in your life is to share your concert memories. To me the more you share something with someone the more treasured it becomes to them.

Television Tunes

One of my favorite ways as a kid to find and listen to new music as a kid was to watch those Time Life CD commercials and listen to two second clips of oldies from back in the day. While some were good and some were bad, they all made an imprint on me. Unfortunately, those commercials which were once one minute have become thirty minute infomercials. And unless you have the patience to listen to a monotonous sales pitch, you can find some great songs on television by tuning in.

Some of my favorite shows have really great music to support the themes and situations of what's happening. And while some shows focus on booking the latest indie acts, others highlight what's popular. And really great shows know how to cater to the iTunes savvy generation that is all about playlists and shuffles.

I especially like to watch commercials with creative concepts like during the Super Bowl and try to Google the song that I am interested in. Lately, I've been fascinated by the Fun featuring Janelle Monae song "We Are Young." It was smartly promoted in the Chevy commercial and soon became viral after an episode of Glee, which bring me to my next point.

Before you diss a show like Glee, it is actually helping the music industry by putting unique twists on current top 40 fare for older adults as well as introducing young tweens and teens to older artists. Regardless what you think of the show in terms of writing or character development, the music has been consistently intriguing. Some of my favorite covers featured have been "Jump" (Van Halen) and "Marry You" (Bruno Mars).

Other shows that I watch regularly have creative ways of featuring music. For instance, Psych, a show that I have constantly featured in my hubs is also very good at introducing music through their Psych Outs or bloopers. Another show that I love, The Wonder Years also features great music from my parents' generation. So if you hunt long enough you will find music that moves you.

Music is Fun

No matter how you decide to introduce kids to different types of music, you should always remember that music is personal and universal. Not everyone loves the same types of music and that's okay.

But for children and young teens, they have to find out in their own unique way how to fall in love with music. It may be the music of their generation, music of generations past or some combination of all types of music.

It's all about having a good time!


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