Music for babies that parents will like too

<i></i>
 Photo: Getty Images

I've always been surrounded by music. In what now seems like a different life I was a music writer, I listened to music while working, went to gigs at the weekends, and in-between I talked, read or wrote about music.

In fact, my girls probably wouldn't even be here without my and their dad's love for music. On the day we first met he was wearing a T-shirt of a band (Wilco) whose singer I had just interviewed. So we started chatting …

Now that I spend most of my time at home with my seven-month-old twins I've been looking for music that the three of us can all enjoy.

By exposing them to lots of music I hope to plant a seed for a life-long love affair with music. But does it matter what music they listen to while they are little?

Probably not. It has long been proven that listening to Mozart doesn't make a child smarter, and that singing (even terribly!) makes babies calmer and happier.

But it doesn't have to be The Wheels on the Bus and Five Little Monkeys on auto-repeat (though there's a time and place for those classics, too).

Music for children is a huge market these days and there's so much to chose from. Although the Wiggles and the like are apparently super appealing to kids, they're not my personal favourites. When searching for good kids music I found a couple of acts who made sort of indie music for kids, but quite often it's just ok music with kid-appropriate lyrics. That wasn't really what I was after.

There's a big difference if you're looking for music for toddlers or preschoolers or for babies. Toddlers pick their own music, and (I imagine, I don't really know many yet) want music that addresses them and their world. Although it will be testing at times, their dad and I have vouched to always take our children's music taste seriously and encourage them to be passionate about it. Even if we think it's utterly terrible. It's better to be into some music than none at all.

But babies don't care about indie music or clever lyrics, and I found that I mainly want something I can sing along to and be silly with them.

Advertisement

There are also lots of songs by bands I like that weren't meant to be kids songs but work perfectly well. 

Good songs for babies are repetitive, catchy and fun but at the same time something I enjoy. Ideally with lyrics we can learn something but not necessarily.

Too much to ask?

Anika Moa does it splendidly. Her songs are fun to sing along to and my girls seem to enjoy them, too. They've even been to their first gig seeing Anika touring her new album Songs for Bubbas 2 recently.

Some other favourites are They Might Be Giants, Rock'n'Rainbow and Jack Johnson.

But let's stop talking and listen to some music instead.

Here's a playlist with my favourite baby tunes at the moment.

Stuff.co.nz