Friday, November 21, 2008

An Ear for Music

Jackson has quite an ear for music. While having gyros at a little greek restaurant tonight, Hard Candy Christmas came on the radio. It was the Dolly Parton version made after she did the movie of Best Little Whorehouse. And within two words into the song Jackson piped up with, "Hey, that's the song Mommy sings!" Yup. He saw me sing that song on stage in Whorehouse and probably in the car a few times and recognized the song immediately 6 months later. He kept saying "That's my mommy singing." We didn't bother to tell him it was actually Dolly singing.

This is not the first time he has exhibited such music memory. First some background - we listen to all kinds of music in the car. But no kid music. I decided early on that we would not be investing in kid CD's and playing them in the car. Music is very important to me and jamming out in the car is one of my favorite things in the world. I have seen too many moms resign themselves to a life of listening to nothing but Sesame Street and Wiggles and Disney music. And I am sure it won't end for them there. They will graduate to whatever top 40 crap their kid likes in jr. High and whatever angst music they like in high school. Not me. When they drive their own car, they can pick the music. As long as I am the driver, we listen to my stuff.

So back to the point. Jackson is very opinionated about music. He wants to listen to what he wants. He has to argue with the CD choices I make. But at least we are arguing about my idea of good music. Some of his favorites are Guy Forsyth, Monte Montgomery and Sara Bareilles. But what astounds me is his ear. He loves Ray LaMontagne. As do I. And recently we were driving and listening to the radio when they played a brand new Ray LaMontagne song. It came on and we both perked up immediately as it is a pretty kick ass song and we had never heard it. Before the vocals started, I was thinking, "Wow, this is great, who is this?" When Ray started singing, within two or three words, at the same time, Jackson and I both yelled "It's Ray!" My three-year-old can pick out Ray LaMontange in three notes and agrees with me that Ray is awesome.

I introduced him last week to early 90's Ian Moore, which he loves. And Keb Mo. Actually anything blues he digs, like his Mama. It makes me smile when Jackson requests specific singers and specific songs from the back seat. He is into Broadway stuff too. David will be directing Big River in May so we have been listening to that. He adores it. And The Last Five Years, which is an amazing show of music, Jackson listens happily to the entire thing. You should too! (He requests song four endlessly)

What do you do with a musical three-year-old? Just because he has an interest and an ear doesn't mean he will be a musician of some kind as that is a different kind of aptitude. But I guess an interest in and recognition of music is a prerequisite to playing an instrument or learning to sing. I am certain music lessons of some sort are in his future. I am just not sure where to start.

For now I will just keep playing Jeff Buckley and Jimmy LaFave and jamming out in the car. And endlessly arguing about which Monte Montgomery album to play. "No, mamma, that is the wrong Monte!" he says when he wants his favorite instead of the one I picked. Oh, lately I have been playing the soundtrack to The Commitments and he likes it as much as I do. Of course he does, it's Soul Music. Cool kid.


Julie said...

We also refuse to listen to kid's music in the car! Stella loves our music, although luckily she's not too opinionated about it yet. But why would I resign myself to a life of children's music? Parents are just too willing to give their entire life over to their children!

Ronni said...

My grown kids still was nostalgic about listening to KUT in the car. Whether music, or the hours of news and information programming, I have always stuck with KUT. The only time I put in a CD is when KUT wimps out on me with wild jazz or something else that doesn't work for me.

The only kids' album I ever bought was "Peter, Paul and Mommy," because that was the only one I ever liked.

I did let the kids pick the station, as teens, and on our trip, Brendan and I listened to music that he had brought, mixed with stuff I had hanging around in the car.

I think we each got an education about the other's music.

Of course, Brendan likes a lot of the classic rock that I do, so there is a lot of common ground.

I wish I had Jackson's ear!

Fire Berry said...

Yeah, I'm with you on this one too... my car, my music. Just because consumerism is directed toward people too young to vote, doesn't mean I have to be! :-)