Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Scotty Huff's Children's Music Pet Peeve

Ok, enough!  I can't stand it!  Can somebody explain to me why children's educational programming, especially those that have a musical focus, cannot seem to follow a few basic and simple rules when providing music to children?

This pet peeve of mine started when my son was a baby and we purchased the "Baby Mozart" CD and DVD from the Baby Einstein series.  Now, you'd think that if these people were really trying to positively influence the youth of the world with early exposure to classic music, they would introduce them to REAL INSTRUMENTS!  I was shocked to hear synthesized instruments on the recordings.  Was the budget really too high to hire musicians to actually play string instruments, or a real trombone?  Even if there was a small budget at first, once Disney bought them out, could they not do a second release with real instruments to ensure our youngsters were exposed to real sounds?

We don't watch a ton of television in my house, but when we do watch kids programming, I'm usually baffled at the poor quality of songs and music production that is intended to foster learning in our children.  Often, the lyrics are too complicated or are moving too quickly for the given age group, the vocal parts are mixed way too quietly for anyone to understand, and it often sounds like they saved money by having the songwriter sing the track instead of hiring a professional vocalist that understands how to deliver a song for children.  "The Wiggles", a children's programming phenomenon back in the day, was a perfect example of, "What the heck are they saying/singing about?"  I've worked with people from Australia and have no issues understanding their accents and colloquialisms, and I still couldn't understand half of what they were saying or singing about.

Music education is an EXTREMELY important part of a child's development, from birth throughout their school years... and beyond!  The educational benefits of music is well documented.  I'm not saying it has to be corny.  It can be a lot of fun, exciting, modern, AND effectively educational.  This is not difficult.

If your producing a children's show and you're not sure how to implement what I'm talking about, let me help you.  It's not as hard as you may think.  It's not as time consuming as you may think.  It's not as expensive as you may think.  (Wow, this is sounding like an advertisement all of a sudden!)  But seriously, I can help! (scotty@scottyhuff.com) But at least put as much effort into the music as you do all other aspects of your show.  The kids deserve it!

...Scotty