Music Moments with Dad

Eric Suliga, Creative Director

By: David Bornoff, Senior Director of Sales Marketing, Pandora

It’s no secret that music and memory go hand-in-hand. Researching that connection through neuroscience has uncovered insights that we are only beginning to understand how to apply to advertising. While we continue to quantify the relationship between music, memory, recall and brands, there is one piece of the puzzle that doesn't require a neural diode scanner to understand: children LOVE music.

And it's this early love for music that drives a deep connection between parents, children and certain songs. As a father and a die-hard lover of music, nothing brings me more joy than watching my three-year-old son and my two-year-old daughter light up to the lullabies of my childhood. Listening to them hum along and wave their arms to my utterly off-tune rendition of the "Wheels On The Bus” is something that will be imprinted on my mind and heart forever.

In honor of Father's Day this coming weekend, we asked some other Pandora dads to share their favorite music moments with their families. Do any of them sound relatable?

My kids are at an age now (11 and 8) where they are constantly sharing new music with me. We have lots of 2-3 hour car rides to various activities, and we will often take turns playing DJ. I use it as an opportunity to introduce them to the classics – Rock and Roll, and music from the 80’s and 90’s. They use it as an opportunity to introduce me to the latest Hip Hop and Taylor Swift tracks. It’s fun to see where we find common ground, Michael Jackson and Prince seem to have no generational boundaries. Sonos and the smart phone has allowed us to bring music into every part of our life when we’re home – Outside playing hoops, inside doing a puzzle or cooking, or in the basement pretending to work out. My son even figured a way to get music in the shower – it’s always with us when we’re home...
Our kids love discovering new favorite songs of all kinds and regularly add songs to their own personal playlists. I love hearing my kids humming the chorus to “Ur Life One Night” by Unknown Mortal Orchestra and yelling out “Hey Dad, It’s Khruangbin!” when the song “People Everywhere (Still Alive)” comes on. Kids really connect to all kinds of music and just need to be exposed. Pandora plays music kids wouldn’t hear anywhere else (certainly not on broadcast radio.)
The music my family listens to is all over the map. We literally listen to everything, from classical to pop to heavy metal, and everything in between. I come from more of a rock background and love that my six year old totally gets into Mötley Crüe, Twisted Sister, and Queen. We also love listening to baroque, bebop, and 50’s rock. My wife on the other plays more classic vocal jazz standards, pop, and world music. We’re pretty proud of the fact that our six year old can immediately identify a Louis Armstrong song. Our almost two year-old only wants to listen to the Thomas the Train theme on loop. For kids genre stations, Children’s Indie, Family Folk Songs, and Happiest Tunes on Earth are fantastic!
My wife and I have a 2 and 4 year-old. I’m a musician and a record collector so music is always around. I don’t push it on them but I certainly get excited about it with them to foster their interest. They’ve caught onto a few songs they’ve heard through me and they also share songs they hear at preschool and on TV with me. Daniel Tiger is an interesting example of how turning simple lessons into songs help stick concepts in their brain (“when we do something new, let’s talk about what we’ll do”), drives my wife and I crazy sometimes but it works.
Stepping into our house, you will almost always be greeted by music. It could be anything from Classic Rock, Today’s Hits to Biggie but that music will almost certainly be met with a barking dog and/or a crying 3 or twin 5 year olds. Having music always on stems from my in-laws and my parents. I think both of our fondest memories as kids have soundtracks rooted in Classic Rock…so in a way we try to recreate that. I vividly remember having to do my Saturday morning chores with Led Zeppelin blaring in the background and thinking, “at least the music doesn’t suck” or my dad introducing me to The Talking Heads while driving down the Eisenhower Expressway on our way to a Cubs game in my dad’s bright red midlife crisis (a Chrysler LeBaron convertible) just thinking – do I have the coolest dad in the world or what? So you better believe I’m doing the same thing with my guys…and while we don’t always want to listen to the same thing – it’s my house and Zeppelin’s gonna play.