Ziggy Marley and the Future of Our Kids

by MassiveMusic



Here’s why music is needed for the adults of tomorrow

The children are our future. Even when it comes to music.

Who will travel the world with a setlist of songs in 20 years from now? Who will be able to perform a 3-hour show with the same amount of energy every single night?

Apart from a few exceptions that don’t need to be started up (what’s up, Mick Jagger), no musician possesses the actual eternal youth.

“I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way” Whitney Houston

But how do kids perceive music at a young age and how can they make the most out of it? What is going on in those little heads when they hear a melody for the first time? And by the way, what is Ziggy Marley’s take on this topic?

Why are we asking? Well, a few days ago, in collaboration with Gibson, we had the pleasure of (virtually) welcoming him to our office to discuss the importance of music for children. With who? With children, of course, as emerging and renowned artists are an amazing source of inspiration for the world out there.

They not only keep us company with their musical stories; they also help shape the society we live in. But first, let us give you some background information.

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The influence of music on child development

Kids nowadays have access to a wide variety of music on different streaming platforms such as Spotify and YouTube and are constantly being challenged to actively engage with music through social media platforms such as TikTok.

Although this is sometimes seen as a negative evolution and as some kind of threat that parents should keep a close eye on, it can also be very beneficial for children’s development in many ways.

Research has shown that engaging in musical activity at a young age leads to the development of different brain areas. This varies from language and reasoning to out-of-the-box thinking.

Also, musical lessons help children develop empathy, as interacting through music can improve their ability to share the mental states of others. Even more so, children are more likely to feel empathy for individuals who are familiar to them.

Thus, it would stand to reason that those with greater familiarity with multicultural music and music that evokes emotional responses would have higher empathy for those around them.

Furthermore, it is found that children who listen to music with their parents have better quality relationships with them in their teenage years. Parents and kids playing music together when they’re at a young age is even better – it closes the generation gap and helps them to rely on each other.

Gettin' Ziggy Wit It

Does it matter which music they play? Well, yes. For example, research of the University of Westminster shows that children who are frequently exposed to classical music or reggae music grow up to be more open-minded as adults.

Ziggy Marley, son of reggae icon Bob Marley, believes that it’s imperative not to only include a musical element to the lives of children, but that it should be an essential part of their everyday lives.

In fact, Ziggy’s latest album ‘More Family Time’ was inspired by his youngest child. The album, released earlier this year, is an ode to families across the world.

With songs like ‘Please Excuse Me Thank You’ and ‘Play With Sky’, the album encourages kids to express themselves and learn about the world by using funky rhythms to dance to, accessible rhymes to sing to and an underlying message to appreciate the environment and people around them.

By teaching kids good manners and that ‘Music Is In Everything’, the album is rhythmically educational. The song ‘Jambo’ teaches kids about the Swahili language in a way that will stick with them well into their later years.

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So, when we opened our doors to the kids of the A’DAM Music School, the excitement was real. The idea was for them to (virtually) present their pre-recorded acoustic version of a song from ‘More Family Time’ and ask Ziggy a few questions.

Ziggy was delighted to hear what the kids had made out of his creation and gave the kids advice for moving forward in the musical world.

“I don’t necessarily miss performing live because I feel as though music is always in the hearts of those who truly enjoy it. I’m excited to perform again live, but at the same time it’s good that people have easy access to music today and they can have a different kind of experience by themselves or with others,” he said.

In the studio, it’s another story. “I’m making things up on the fly, I’m trying to create something I haven’t done before. The process is more meticulous. But on stage, I go crazy. It’s much more spontaneous and interactive.”

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Thinking about their future Coachella sets, they also asked him if he had any recommendations for artists to sample.

“You can sample me! Am I famous? (laughs) Here are some artists you should check out: Toots and the Maytals, Dennis Brown, Chronixx and Jesse Royal”.

When asked who his musical influences were, Ziggy answered by mentioning Marvin Gaye and Fela Kuti.

The kids of A’DAM Music School were also interested in what advice Ziggy Marley could give for young musicians going forward: “Have an open mind. Don’t get stuck in a box. Music is freedom. That’s why I do music. I make reggae but really, I just do music. All music is related to each other. It’s all interconnected. Never close your mind to trying new things and exploring music beyond what genre you’re in.”

Everyone was moved by this and got ready to spread out across the office to express their excitement for their artistic lives ahead.

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The Major Key

“Thank you. This means so much more to me than you guys would even understand. I love connecting with you guys. Music is one of the greatest creations in the universe. Keep making music, keep practising!”

That’s how Ziggy closed the workshop, with hope and a sense of purpose.

Giving kids the space to have their musical freedom is their right as mini musicians. After the talk, we couldn’t stop their little fingers from strumming and playing on the office instruments.

We all deserve more family time – whether it’s our biological or extended one, or a family of our choice, willing to stay together and play life as an instrument for as long as possible.

The young and passionate citizens of today are the adults of tomorrow. And, as cliché as it may sound, music can be one of their greatest tools on their journey.