Families influence taste in music

Music tastes have evolved drastically over the years. Baby boomers wore grooves in their Elton John, Bob Dylan, and Paul Simon records. Bruce Springsteen and Led Zeppelin tickets sold out.  So when they have children of their own, what happens to parents’ music tastes?

Today’s music contains many swear words that parents don’t want their kids to hear. When listening to top 40 radio, parents may change stations to more appropriate songs. Rihanna’s “S&M” contains sexual overtones but is played constantly on Top 40 radio. Ke$ha likes to “pop bottles” and “stop the club” when she walks in. Compromises will be made, whining may be heard, but parents could be positively influencing their kids’ musical tastes.

Diana Harwood, mother of Nathaniel, 12, Seth, 15, and Amanda, 18, notices that her music taste has evolved over the years, but not because of her kids. She listens to Pandora radio and CDs. “I associate different kinds of music with different parts of my life. Sometimes when I listen to music it really takes me back to the time that I first remember hearing the music,” Harwood said.

Harwood was very conscious of what she listened to when her kids were younger. “I would turn off the radio when songs with inappropriate language came on or comment that it ‘wasn’t very nice’,” she said. Nowadays, compromising is easier. “Sometimes we have to compromise, but usually it isn’t about what they like and what I like. It’s more about what I am in the ‘mood’ for. I pretty much like all the music they like, but that doesn’t mean I am always in the mood for it.”

On the other hand, kids have drawn musical influences from their parents’ music. The recent comeback of vinyl is bringing many older artists to the forefront of the younger music scene. At 18th Street Vintage in Cedar Falls, vinyl records of all kinds can be found, from Jimi Hendrix to Herbie Hancock. A Bob Dylan concert at the McLeod Center in October 2010 drew families of all ages.

So, until kids don’t have to hitch rides from their parents, they should take turns choosing the music. “S&M” probably won’t be a hit with the moms and dads of the world, but Ellie Goulding’s catchy song “Lights” might be. The radio probably won’t ever be  fully appropriate, but learning to compromise provides benefits for both parents and children.

Class of 2014

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