I grew up listening to music. In the living room, we had a turntable in a big stereo console and a cassette player that would automatically push tapes out into a side compartment when the side was finished. When we were little, I learned to carefully put the needles down on the LPs of Sharon, Lois, and Bram and Raffi. As I grew a little older, I started to put on some of my parents’ record collection. And although our taste in music has never been totally aligned, I did find one record in their collection that I couldn’t get enough of, a ten-track “greatest hits” package titled after my favourite track on the record: Good Vibrations.
Listening to music in the living room on the big cabinet speakers, playing air guitar on a tennis racquet, or faking accompaniment on our Yamaha synthesizer, was an instant spirit booster — even given the small record collection my parents had amassed as young adults. And yet, even as a music fan, there were decades of music, and whole genres, that I never got a taste of until much later music sharing services made them readily available to me.
All of this is to illustrate what a position of luxury we are in now, not only with the simplicity in building a music collection through iTunes, but now with streaming services like Songza, Rdio, and Spotify that allow all-access to thoughtfully-curated playlists, we now fill our home with music of every genre. I love that it’s letting our kids get up and dance to songs we grew up to, classic Motown and rock-n-roll that formed the foundation for generations before us, and current hits alike. Better still, we’re not limited to North American music; our kids get to hear instrumentation and rhythms from a global collection of sources, all of which gives them a sonic reminder that there’s a larger world they’ll get to explore with time.
It’s one of our great joys to see our daughter inventing new moves on the family room floor and to try to learn them from her.
Some day, when I get around to it, I may even finally hook up the old turn table I picked up to let the kids see how albums were enjoyed in days gone by. Those old Sharon, Lois and Bram and Raffi records are here waiting for their chance to be played again. (Although the kids can already sing along to our digital copy of “Baby Beluga”.)
And if you’re wondering whether I would ask my folks to lend me their copy of Good Vibrations to share with my kids, probably not. It was the first album I stole it from them when I moved out.
Five Vinyl Records in my Collection I’ll Be Forcing on my Kids
- Led Zeppelin – I
- Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
- The Who – Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy
- Crosby, Still, Nash, and Young – Deja Vu
- Huey Lewis and the News – Sports