Acclaimed singer-songwriter Sandra McCracken recently joined with a few friends—Ellie Holcomb, Flo Paris, and Katy Bowser—to record an album called Rain for Roots: Big Stories for Little Ones. Putting the words of children's author Sally Lloyd-Jones to music for kids, this stellar new project raises the bar for the genre. We asked McCracken to write an op-ed about the importance of children's music done well.
With two young children, we've made a point of exposing our kids to as much W.A. Mozart, Woody Guthrie, Paul Simon, and the Beatles as we possibly can. We want them to know about good music before they are old enough to pop in the earbuds on their own. We often check out music CDs from the library, and have discovered some great children's music in the style of bluegrass, rockabilly, and of course the family kids' jazz favorite, Coal Train Railroad. But I must confess that, on the whole, I am disheartened with the selection of what is out there, and I cannot stomach most of the packaged children's music "product."
Some friends and I were remembering and laughing about which childhood songs we could remember. We especially remember the Sunday school songs like "Seek Ye First," the camp/scout tunes like "Rise and Shine," or the hymns our grandmothers sang to us in the rocking chair like "I Love to Tell the Story." This conversation got me thinking about what a significant moment that is in a child's life when he or she can absorb art and beauty by way of these clever little soul vehicles called melodies.
This tender moment in a young life reveals something else about us adults, too. What we believe about a child, and the person who that child is becoming, is significant. As Charlotte Mason says "A child is a ...1