Friday, December 24, 2004

Musical Legacy for Children

I was driving the car when a Tom Jones song came on the Oldies station on the radio. I remember hearing that song often as a child while my mother cleaned.

Blood, Sweat and Tears; Earth, Wind and Fire; Cat Stevens, Elvis, the Beatles (the pre-psychedelic years), Neil Diamond, John Denver, Simon & Garfunkel, and, unfortunately, Roger Whittaker -- this was the music of my childhood, the soundtrack to the clip show of my youth.

Our parents' music choice is reflected in our knowledge of pop culture. I remember once making a joke about a dish I'd made that had sage and rosemary in it, all it was missing was parsley and thyme. A friend of mine looked blank and another friend explained it was a reference to a Simon & Garfunkel song. She shrugged it off, her parents are younger than mine and didn't listen to S&G, they were fans of the Doors and probably other groups with which I'm generally unfamiliar. My husband's parents are older than mine, we hear a lot of big band music when we're visiting.

I'm wondering about the musical legacy I'm leaving my children. Billy Idol, Madonna and the Bodeans are in our stereo, along with children's music (Music Together, Barney, Raffi). They Might Be Giants is frequently played in the car. Sometimes we listen to Classical music in the car as I find it soothing in traffic and it sometimes helps the girls drift off to sleep. My hubby is a Jersey boy which makes him a Bruce Springsteen fan. A BIG Springsteen fan -- he's even from the same county as the Boss. Even thinks some of the songs on Tracks are good.

Lately we've been listening to Springsteen's album, The Rising, a good album but if you don't know the background of it, don't go looking into it (its disturbing, all about reactions to the 9/11 attacks). My kids love it. They LOVE it. The 2 year-old, who doesn't say much, constantly demands the Rising. "Rye-sing, Rye-sing" she shrieks in the car and at home. Luckily, we have a CD burner, so we're able to have copies in both locations. Then, my DH finds a video on the internet, shot during the tour in Barcelona. Oh, a concert video, I say (I'm not a fan of live music and couldn't care less about concert footage). "Yeah, a concert video" hubby says and roll his eyes like I just don't get it. "Its a SPRINGSTEEN concert video." Bruce jumps onto the piano at the end and I think hubby is going to explode. I just don't get it.

But what about my dear daughters? Do they get it? Will they get it? At what price? Should I stop this? I've got Classical Kids CD's to teach them about great composers -- Beethoven, Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart... (I realize purists might disdain these CDs as dumbing down the music).

Rye-sing, RYE-sing! At least you can dance to it.


clanlally said...

I am a huge music fan. I have recently completed filling a 40 gig hard drive with ripped and downloaded mp3s. That's a lot of music. 700 records. Give or take. Erin is a big music fan. She loves to dance and sing and spin. Spinning is huge. The only conscious thing we do, well...two things are a) expose her to as much musical diversity as possible. She gets it all, right now, for some reason, she loves listening to a compliation from "Mojo" ( a U.K. music mag) on the influences of the Clash. We played it once and she was hooked. (Old school R & B, reggae, etc). The other is that we dont expose her to anything hardcore. No gangsta rap. No Slipknot. Etc. She calls the shots though. She knows how to work the cd player. She is the DJ. She has pretty good taste too. And she mixes it up which is the coolest part for me.

Larry said...

Amazing, Marjorie. All those oldies you mentioned are newies for us of the older generation. The big bands weren't quite the acme for me; that was the forties-- some of them terribly repulsive, some enchanting.

Our children came up with Bob Dylan. I still see Dylan in a lot of music I hear today. I almost put a chapter on Dylan in my Blake book. I thought his life was so sad: he briefly became a Christian on the West Coast, but he must have tangled with fundies and soon got clear of that.
Then he tried to be a Jew.

But he was/is just a lost soul. But then the same thing applies to Schubert, Beethoven, Tschaikovsky-- those are the oldies to me.

I'm really glad to be able to communicate with younger people through these blogs.

Elizabeth said...

We've got our 4 year old addicted to the Beatles, which is lots of fun.

I like the Rising album as well. I think most of the songs about 9/11 are sufficiently indirect that I'm not worried about them freaking out my kids. It's *41 Shots* that makes me wince every time it comes on...

What I didn't say in my recent post about toy guns ( is that one of our rules is that toy guns stay in the house because I don't ever want a police officer to have to think twice about whether he's holding a real gun or a toy. Yeah, it's not a likely problem when he's 4, but when he's 14...