The other day, I heard my eldest making up a song about random things. Literally. Like things that they saw around them, things their sibling was doing, even what they were doing as they walked around (“I’m singing a song…”). Shocked? I wasn’t. I play music more than have the t.v. on, and I love to sing along to music myself. I don’t necessarily make up music about the work I am doing or what I’m about to eat like my eldest would, but I do feel like music is a huge part of my life. And I’d like to make it a part of my kids’ lives.
I can remember being young, like younger than six or so, and listening to my mom’s records. Yes, LP’s. I was a huge fan of Barry Manilow, often asking people if they were too. Maybe it was his soulful singing, rhythmic melody, or the catchy tunes that went along with it, but I still love him to this day (guilty pleasure, I suppose). In any case, my mom, being a stay at home mom for the first 14 years of my life, would often put on music to do housework or if we just had downtime. I can also remember listening to my parents’ radio stations in the car only (especially when we got to be teenagers, they HATED the rap/r&b/any music that had any suggestive nature to it, so therefore, ALL of it), but I learned to secretly like their music. I learned the lyrics quickly, too, usually surprising my parents. Case en point, when Chicago and America came to town to do a concert, I not only surprised my parents by suggesting we go, but during a lot of the much older songs (think, 70s, before I was born music), I could easily sing along to the beats. My dad was especially surprised, but pleasantly so, as I wasn’t cut off to any one type of music. It was like he accomplished something; bringing up a daughter who could appreciate a lot of different types of music.
Truth be told, my husband is not a music-type. I’m not saying he doesn’t like it, he does. He will listen to country, and humor me when I want to bring it back to the 90s music that I grew up with. But honestly, he would rather listen to ESPN radio or the MLB play by play on satellite radio than a tune. He tries, he really does. He attempts to sing along with the music that I turn on. He plays my stupid car game, where we literally scroll through the different decades of music, guessing at the song title or artist before checking to see if we are right. (I still hold the record, of being able to go all the way from the 90s back to the 50s.) He will also dance with me at events that involve alcohol, because he claims he can’t dance without drinking. In any case, the difference is palpable. I love music, can listen to it 24/7, recite most of the songs (he calls me “Shazam” like the music app), and would choose music over anything. He can take it or leave it. He’s my t.v. head, the one my youngest takes after.
So how do I make sure that my kids gain some sort of semblance of at least respect for music? I know I can’t MAKE them like music or bring it into their lives the way I have. I think I may have achieved that with my eldest, especially if they keep making up music to their everyday tasks. My youngest has asked me where the music is, if we are hanging outside by the pool or in the driveway, as we all notice when it’s quieter than usual. Maybe I have already enlightened them even just a smidge towards music becoming a soundtrack to their lives. I know they might never have that feeling you get when you hear the song that you first kissed a boy to, or a song to bring you back to helping your mom clean the house while listening to the LP, but at least they request some songs (“Whoa whoa” is Eric Church’s “Springsteen” that they often ask for) and notice when there is not music. Respect for music, check. Request for music, check. Maybe now I can get my husband on board, too.