Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Does Music Matter?

I grew up surrounded by classical music with very few exceptions: the jazz music that played on Saturdays while my dad budgeted the check book, the occasional B52’s and Beatlles’ records that my brother played while the parents were gone, and whatever musical talent was showcased on Prairie Home Companion Saturday evenings.  Even my extra curricular activities: ballet and piano had a classical music focus.  My very first CD was the soundtrack to the movie Amadeus and is still a personal favorite of mine. 

Lately, I have wondered what sort of effect this had on me and my childhood development.  I don’t doubt that it has helped train any sort of “musical ear” that I may have, but did it help in other ways?  Did it help my in my scholastic endeavors?

I think about this as I watch my son throughout the day.  There can be days when no music is played.  Instead, there is a audio book playing while I straighten up, cook dinner, etc.  When I do play music, I question my choices.  Should I be playing classical instead of my running mix where the songs consist mostly of loud, driving beats.  Will my musical choices influence his? 

I have also started listening to musical lyrics in a whole new light.  Do I want my child singing the lyrics to this particular song?  I read recently a post where the author as a young girl belted out the lyrics to Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.”  In church.  When she was, like, 6.  Hilarious?  Yes.  Do I want my children to follow suite?  No. 

(Side note:  My claim to musical fame as a young child was knowing way too many versus of My Gal’s a Corker which I regaled all who would listen, or forced to listen, on church camping trips.)

I would be interesting in knowing the how music influenced your childhood.  Do you think it influenced your current musical interests?  Do you think you are better or worse off due to your parents musical interests (or lack thereof)?


heidikins said...

My dad is a classical pianist and my mom is a piano teacher. My childhood was full of classical music which I still love. In fact, I have a hard time with "music with words" because I feel like I have to pay attention to it like I would a conversation. It's exhausting to listen to rock 'n' roll. ;o)


Stacey @ Entropified said...

I grew up hearing only 70s pop or top 40 on the radio. In my teens I found the classical station on my own and from there began to enjoy all kinds of music. I also played percussion in school and even continued to play as an adult in our city band. So, when my children were still young, I played all kinds of music at home and modeled instrument study. Guess what? They both hated music. Hated piano lessons, hated choir, hated anything I played on the radio and tried to discuss with them. And then? About a year ago my middle son, now 18, discovered instrumental music from video games that has been orchestrated. He loves it. He wants to study cello. Go figure.

Look, you can influence your kids, but I know now you can't make them be anything they are not.

Anonymous said...

Play it all, I say.

Or, rather, play what you like and let Baby F pick and choose (whether by wailing now or cuing up the music himself later). As far as I can tell, all the "X music makes baby a smarter person!" is bunk - which doesn't mean Baby F shouldn't be hearing Bach, just that he should because it's *glorious*, not brain-medicine. And if it comes to that, I can find you an intellectually and musically interesting thing in almost any kind of music: how does hiphop play with vocal style? how do slip jigs syncopate? how does this counterpoint fit together? (I make an exception to this for John Rutter and Andrew Lloyd Webber, except maybe then the question is "why do people respond to showy, lush textures?") Sure, pay attention to the lyrics, and probably don't play *everything* around Baby F - but I know various people who Would Never Let their children listen to [insert genre here, even classical], and I just feel sorry for their kids.

(This is coming across as me-on-a-soapbox, I know, but here's what I've played in the last few days: Monteverdi, Boston-area folk, 12th century songs, Anglo/Celtic singer/songwriter stuff, Scandinavian folk rock and traditional music, Regina Spektor, random poppy things encountered on YouTube...and I wouldn't want to have to pick one of those.)

Washington Hills said...

All I can say is I completely missed the 80's due to listening to James Taylor, Carole King, Fleetwood Mac, etc. at home...I think I got a great deal!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...