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Survey finds parents can influence kids' musical tastes... before age 10

Want to raise a little rocker? Better get to them while they're young.
/ Source: TODAY

This may (or may not) be music to parents’ ears.

A new survey says there's a window for influencing your child's musical taste, and that window closes around age 10. So if you want your child to favor The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York" over Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" — or vice versa — get on it now, parents.

According to the 2,000 parents surveyed by the streaming service Deezer, 82 percent of parents say their kids react most favorably to hearing new music before they hit double digits.

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What happens after age 10? Well, kids are more likely to dislike styles of music they don’t know very well or hear that often. The majority of parents surveyed understand the importance of exposing their offspring to new music — 85 percent believe it’s essential their kids experience music that’s different than what they usually hear, something to remember the next time you shake a rattle, sing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" or watch your child shred while playing Guitar Hero.

Parents appear to have an emotional investment in their children's musical taste. Three out of four parents say they try to get their kids to like their favorite songs.

Dr. Hauke Egermann, a music researcher with the music department of England’s University of York who also serves as the director of the York Music Psychology Group, says hearing new types of music has positive effects on youngsters that go beyond simply humming or singing along. “The benefits of having a wider taste in music include the ability to use music to manage their emotions, socialize and bond with others more easily, as well to have a better understanding of other cultures,” he said in a press release.

Dads are more likely than moms to want their children to like the music they like — 82 percent of fathers feel that way, as opposed to 60 percent of mothers.

Egermann tells that parents would be wise not to push their favorite music too hard. “I think it is important that parents should approach this with an open mind and try not to judge their children’s music choices,” he said. “Parents should be positive and upbeat when trying to interest their children in different genres of music.”

How do moms and dads do that? “Parents could also put music on in the background while the child is playing, and create positive memories by going to concerts and live music events together,” Egermann said.

While parents can affect their children’s musical tastes, Egermann points out teenagers may influence their parents as well. “Parents are also susceptible to familiarization, so if a child repeatedly plays their favorite music, parents may find they enjoy it a little more,” he says. “Furthermore, if the teenager explains to their parents about why they like a specific artist or piece of music, the parents will have an understanding of the song’s meaning and a better appreciation of what this song means for their teenager.”