Children_listening_to_the_radio_1940sWhen I was a child, the weekly Top 40 chart was king. I’m sure, like me and my sister, many of you huddled by your radio/cassette player between 4pm and 7pm, tuned into Radio 1 with your finger hovering over the record button. That felling of satisfaction gained when you stopped recording just as the DJ began to talk will stay with me forever!
If a particular song wasn’t in the top 40 or had been out for a while and disappeared, it was almost impossible to buy in the local record shop. It was often a mission to find a song or a record in the days before Google and recording from the radio, whilst technically illegal, was sometimes the only way to get it. I had several cassette tapes of live gigs too, recorded on my trusty radio/cassette player.

Nowadays, with the rise of the internet, young people have access to pretty much every song ever recorded which can be downloaded, streamed and saved with the click of a button.
I’m not going to enter into the rights and wrongs of streaming vs buying the tracks but as a musician, I believe artists should be rewarded fairly for their work. However, as a music teacher, I am grateful that so much great music is available to people young and old who may not have been born, or simply missed it, first time around. Classic artists from throughout history are readily available for discovery by a whole new generation and today’s artists can quote their heroes and influences allowing their fans to research and explore music that they may not have discovered on their own.

I teach many young people and nothing gives me greater pleasure that to hear a student cite an influence from another time or genre to the one they generally lean towards now. I have had children as young as 10 stating heroes such as Etta James, Bob Dylan and Deep Purple.  Whilst many of these artists are well-known and well-respected to almost all “mature” musicians, it’s so refreshing to hear those names spilling from the mouths of children.


I would suggest that, aside from the modern artists citing these figures as influences, many youngsters are exposed to music from a bygone age via their parents and their Grandparents. It is important for our children to receive a broad education in all aspects of their lives and music is no different. Whether the child is exhibiting any desire to be a musician or learn an instrument, listening to different styles, different artists and different eras provides a wealth of musical emotions and music

My dad was a trumpet player and one of the most valuable things he ever said to me was “listen to EVERYTHING. You don’t have to like it but listen. Understand the nuances of different genres, the instrumentation and the construction. You will be able to play in any style and you will always be in demand as a working musician.”

Thanks Dad, it worked.