Using music to supplement parental instruction
Posted on June 26, 2010
While I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about pop culture (Kirstie Alley’s weight is currently down and Spencer and Heidi are unfortunately separating…who saw that one coming?!) there are a few fads that I have been late to jump on: the cellular phone and Justin Bieber being two notable examples. Well, tonight marks the night that I engage myself in another fad. Yes, I am talking about the fad involving dance-y songs sung by a colorfully dressed character that vaguely resembles a human. No, however, I am not talking about Lady Gaga. I am talking about a children’s television show called Yo Gabba Gabba.
Most of you parents are probably intimately familiar with the show. It features several characters (who make a cameo in a Kia commercial you may have seen and thought “what the…?!”) like a green hairy beast with no skeletal system in his arms and a one-eyed warty carrot thing. While your first impression may revolve around how bizarre it is, the show appears to actually be developed with the parent in mind.
I had never watched the show in any detail except for cameos by Andy Samberg and Jack Black (already a good sign) that Karina asked me to watch. Tonight however, we were on the way home from my mom’s and I got to listen to an entire Yo Gabba Gabba soundtrack. (For those of you without kids, yes, this is one thing to prepare yourself for…no more Snoop Dogg, Tupac, or Barry Manilow in the car, it’s The Wiggles and Barney)
One thing struck me immediately about the songs: their practicality. While other children’s TV Show/music super groups like the Wiggles teach in great detail such things as how to make a good fruit salad, that’s not very useful to me. Yo Gaba Gabba, on the other hand has many a song that teaches lessons I am trying to impart to my own children: like complaining won’t get you what you want, trying new food is good, and don’t ask someone to pull your finger until you are locked and loaded. (actually Yo Gabba Gabba hasn’t made a song about the last one…yet)
As much as my kids watch the show, I would hope to see more effect on their behavior from the lesson-packed songs. Yet, in a comparison between pre-show viewing behavior to post-show behavior, I have seen no marked improvement in the complaining or new food trying areas (the kids don’t even want to try pizza chicken pasta. For the love of Pete, it’s pizza with pasta instead of the bread!). I was wondering why the songs weren’t hitting home and then I began to think of how much music I listen to and how little of it I actually take to heart…or even understand. For example, I love the song Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. However, I have no idea what the words in the title even mean. Yet that does not prevent me from singing along at the top of my lungs to such lyrics as “Let me go! Ish Meal Lock, No I will not let you go”. Anyone have any idea what that means? Is an Ish Meal Lock required for a Bohemian to Rhapsod or something?
Regardless, I can only hope that my kids will start taking to heart the lyrics from the song. And, if not, perhaps the Yo Gabba Gabba writers can add some proverbial meat to their lyrics. One song goes “Try it! You will like it!” I suggest a song entitled “Eat your ding-danged food or I will throw away every ounce of sugar in this house! Don’t test me or you will rue the day…RUE THE DAY I TELL YOU!”