Sunday, February 22, 2009

Music Makes It Right

I love music.

I love musicals, classical music, classic rock, really any type of music- I'll listen to it.

When I was pregnant with my son I played classical music to my growing belly. I played Baby Einstein's CDs and The Boston Pops and the Beatles. I would lay in bed and just let my CD player go while my headphones were wrapped around my baby bump. I really never felt any reaction from the life inside. I know now it was because he couldn't hear it. I thought it was because he wasn't going to be a musical baby.

When I became pregnant with my daughter, even though there was a chance that she could also be born deaf as her brother was, I pulled out the CDs and the headphones. With my daughter, I played EVERYTHING! She listened to everything from Bach to Billy Joel to Barenaked Ladies to the Grateful Dead in utero. And she moved.

I vividly remember the moment I realized that Barenaked Ladies CD I had been playing was actually lulling my unborn child to sleep. It had been a week of listening to the same CD, their greatest hits, and the music would start and within a minute of it playing my daughter would start to move. She moved to the beat for a bit and by the sixth song she would have stopped. It was the same every night.

The music was putting her to sleep. It was in those moments I came to believe that my daughter was going to be musically inclined.

About three weeks ago, the kids and I were at a basketball game and we were heading into the gym and my son started singing as we walked. I couldn't exactly make out what he was singing so I stopped him and asked him to sing it again.

"Roll Away the Dew.
Roll Away the Dew...."

He sang it over and over again in perfect tune and beat. I stopped, smiled and even teared up a bit. My son, my firstborn, was singing the Grateful Dead. He was singing "Franklin's Tower" from memory. He gave me a big smile and kept singing as we walked into the game.

My kids love music. They love music that is not on a Disney CD or a Wiggles DVD. Sure, they listen to that stuff and they are exposed to people like Laurie Berkner and Hot Peas 'N Butter from Noggin but not nearly as much as they hear things like Phish and Beyonce and Stevie Wonder and the Barenaked Ladies. And that makes me feel good.

It is important to me that my children play sports and do well in school and are kind to people and treat others with fairness and compassion. But it is also important that my children love music and develop a taste for all different types of music.

Today, I was in my kitchen and had put on a CD of music that I took off my iPod. Beyonce's "Single Ladies" came on and from the living room I heard my 4 year old son singing the words perfectly. I laughed. The next song was Jack Johnson and in a flash both of my kids were in my kitchen dancing like crazy fools.

There are days where I wonder if I'm doing this all right. Where I question if my husband and I are exposing our children to things that will make them well-rounded and intelligent human beings. When my kids can shake their little bodies in time to a song that I have loved for years or can sing the words of a song that I can remember my parents singing in the car, I know we're doing it right.


CrAzY Working Mom said...

This post made me smile! My children love music as well. They get that from me. I love to sing and dance. When I was pregnant, I would sing to them along with the radio. I think that a love of music and the arts is an important part of any childhood!!!

Anonymous said...

Of course, you're doing the right thing!!!! I am sure you are not listening to any degrading hip hop-or rap or scary sounding ultra heavy metal. My kids appreciate so many kinds of music.I don't want them growing up thinking there's only one kind of music to listen to or that my music is just for me. As long as it doesn't put anybody down or encourage kids to harm anyone or do wrong- the sky's the limit. I think - I mean, I know!!!-you are doing a fabulous job. Now put on some clean VAn halen for your kids will ya?

LOL!!!! Rachel:)

Anonymous said...

Oh and by the way we do listen to some rap/hip/hop that's clean- we don't rule it out!!!:)Rachel
Mommy doesn't expose them to that screaming heavy metal stuff -though, I'm afraid. Rachel :)

Anonymous said...

Hey, what about a music allowance for your kids? You could say, that each one gets one iTunes song a day, and then as family each child can download a new song.

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