Introducing your little one to classic music can be challenging if it’s not done the right way. You can never force your kid to like all of your favorite music, no matter how hard you try. And there’s no tried-and-true method for making them fans of your faves. But Motown is a great place to start.
Motown music is essentially the foundation of today’s pop and hip-hop music. Just like it’s important for your youngster to know about classic rock and how it influenced today’s punk and rock scene, it’s just as equally important to know where hip-hop, R&B and pop comes from. Besides, you shouldn’t go through life without knowing some of the greatest artists in music history. Do you really want to be the reason that your child doesn’t know who the Jackson 5, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Contours and other Motown giants were? I didn’t think so.
Now where to start …
It’s never too early to have your little one listen to Motown for the simple fact that there are so many types of songs — from funky jump-on-your-feet-and-dance tunes to deep, soulful songs. You can play some upbeat Motown during playtime, then a slow soul number in the background while you lull your newborn to sleep. One song that comes to mind is “Stay Gold” by Stevie Wonder (you get brownie points if you know what movie this song was in). A perfect way to end the day is by telling your child to stay gold despite everything that goes on in this crazy, mixed-up world.
“Baby Love” by Diana Ross and the Supremes is another great song to play in the background while your baby naps. Ross’ cooing vocals will be sure to soothe your bundle of “baby love.”
For those energized toddler years, there’s an endless supply of Motown music that will get them up and jumping. Let’s start with this one …
“Rockin Robin” was originally released in 1958 by Bobby Day and became a No. 2 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Jackson 5 then did a cover in 1972 and it was an instant hit again, peaking at #2 on the Hot 100. I like both versions of the song honestly, but the MJ cover might just be a better fit for your little one. Either way, this song will get you and your kid up and dancing.
“Shake Me, Wake Me” by the Four Tops has such a catchy groove that your toddler will be shaking his or her whole body to the beat.
On the CD Motown for Kids, put together by the label itself, you’ll find more of Motown’s greatest hits, including those by the Jackson 5, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye and others. The best part is that the songs are sung by the original artists (not by annoying teeny-bopper cover artists), so you can enjoy this CD as well.
Next time you feel like going back to the ‘60s, just pop in this CD and have fun dancing and singing with your little ones. You’ll make a Motown fan of them yet.