Exposing Your Kids to Different Cultures Through Music

I truly enjoy is experiencing things from other cultures. Be it food, watching traditional rituals like wedding ceremonies or emerging in culture through travel it’s just fun to see how the rest of the world does things.

As my children grow up, I want to instill this joy in their lives also. One of the easiest ways to do this is through music. I’ve always enjoyed listening to different music. From music in my own Chinese culture to those of Bollywood. Listening to music can introduce a wide range of sounds to your children and open up the world to them. It can give them a window to see the rest of the world all from the comfort of your home (or car).

What I especially like is being introduced to new artists and their music. Of course, it really only means “new” to me while the artist might have been around for ages. Last month, I was introduced to the music of Elena Moon Park and given an opportunity to listen to her latest album before its release. Unfortunately, with all the things happening in life this last month I wasn’t able to listen to the entire album and do a review, so I’m doing some catch up this month.

Cultural music for kids - Elena Moon Park's Rabbit Days and Dumplings
Rabbit Days and Dumplings from Elena Moon Park and Friends

Elena’s latest album, Rabbit Days and Dumplings, was released on September 25th. It’s a wonderful combination of American music with Asian elements featuring folk and children’s songs from East Asia. Your children will be introduced to music from China, Korean, Japan, Taiwan and Tibet and will love the playful rhythms.

I particularly love the fourth song in this album, “Tum Tum Chuen”. Elena’s version of this old song is fun to listen to and instantly brought me back to childhood. It’s a song I’ve grown up with and have always enjoyed singing at home with my mother and grandmother. In this song, a mother tells her son to watch the Dragon Boat race festivities, but instead he prefers to watch the chickens and wonders how much money he could earn from selling them. I didn’t read through the song list before listening to the album, so it was such a pleasant surprise hearing an old favorite and being able to share it with my children.

My son has always loved music and dancing. When I started playing this album at home he immediately stopped doing everything else and started dancing to the music. While our lil lady is too young to understand the song, I’m looking forward to playing this album for her and hope that as she and her brother grow up it will bring the same joy to them as it did for my brother and me.

Overall, Rabbit Days and Dumplings was enjoyable to listen to and I definitely recommend it to parents who want to start introducing the world to their children in the simplest and cost effective form – through music.


About Elena Moon Park 
Elena Moon Park is a musician and educator living in Brooklyn, NY. A Korean-American whose parents immigrated to this country from South Korea in their early 20s, Park was born and raised in East Tennessee, and through much of her life, says she felt much more like a Southerner than a South Korean. Her experiences as a touring musician inspired her to reflect on her experience as an Asian-American. She currently divides her time between playing music, most often with the Brooklyn-based family music band Dan Zanes and Friends, and tackling issues of community development, the arts, social justice and policy.

About the Album
This album has received a Parent’s Choice award and a feature on NPR’s All Things Considered.

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