Mortified. That was my first reaction to my four year old when she came gleefully bouncing out from the shelves of CDs at the local library. "Look what I found!!" she exclaimed, excitedly. "Can I take it?" My first thought was, "Barbie? No." The glitter, the pink, the inappropriate and unhealthy body image issues, the..., the...
"Yes," I said. I have an "anything goes" policy at the library that hadn't seemed so bad until that Barbie Dance CD moment. We had discovered chapter books, kid cookbooks, non-fiction, puzzles, great music, and activity books. And, like any library adventure, you just never know what you will learn from the materials you find at the library. You know what we learned from this dance CD? We learned what sparkles sound like!
It was the end of the first song, "Good Time," when we heard the sound of chimes (probably played by a synthesizer but maybe not) twinkle in the speakers. "Mama! That's what sparkles sound like!" my daughter said with a huge smile. "I want to learn how to play sparkles!"
She wanted to learn! This CD that made my no-way-o-meter go off had inspired my daughter to learn something...and want to learn something about playing music. I couldn't have been happier at that outcome!
Then it got me thinking: Well, of course, there need to be good "dance music" artists out there. I thought to myself, "I want to learn more about dance music! What makes it good?"
I started reminiscing about my college days - dancing to "dance music" in "dance clubs" and lamenting with my friend, who was a DJ, and the quality of music. Some dance music is just better. It makes you want to move and keep moving for hours on end.
But how? What makes some dance/techno/trance music better than other music? Now, I'm no expert on music theory and that is what made it all the more interesting to me. My daughter had opened my eyes to the value of "her" music. There is space for my daughter and I to find the best of any type of music together. We will be learning and I expect we will be learning a LOT. Because in order to learn about dance music we will explore new music technology (new instruments), new processes (ways of playing instruments, recording songs), and new art (that would be new music genres, artists, etc.).
I can't believe I'm all fired up because of what I heard on the Barbie Dance Party Mix. I guess the CD is not so bad afterall.