As a father, WYEP Morning Mix co-host Joey Spehar has a unique outlook on modern music. This led him to develop Cool Kids, a daily segment where listeners submit, “kid approved” songs and share stories about listening to quality music with their child.
“I’m a dad, my daughter’s almost two years old, and I found that she really enjoys music,” says Spehar. “I’m sure there are countless people out there who have had similar experiences.”
Dr. Rachel Whitcomb, assistant professor of music education at Duquesne University, says Spehar’s program touches on some important ideas in early childhood development.
“Children will respond and be influenced by music from an early age,” she says. “If a parent is particularly supportive of a particular album or a particular type of music and is responding emotionally him or herself, then the child will do the same thing. Those early influences are important.”
Dr. Whitcomb says when sharing music with children, one needs to come from a place of authenticity and passion.
“Be a musician, however that is in your child’s life,” Whitcomb says. “Share music that you love. Move to the music that you love.”
Listener reaction to the new program has been positive, according to Spehar, and the number of responses from listeners has increased as a result. “I went from getting maybe one email a week to a couple a day,” says Spehar. “People have been really generous with their stories.”