Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pants' Musical Ear, and her picks this week.

I didn't post last week, because I had the killer virus that has been going around our kids' schools and could not get out of bed. I had cough, sore throat, stuffed-up ears, shivers. The works. And I am still walking wounded, but sort of okay. The last thing I could think about was music, singing, and little kids dancing to songs about cupcakes. But the girls has been sick, too, and so their grandmother had sent a sweet little care package with a couple of children's CDs and some Valentine's crafts. And I handed those over them, and voila. Peace for poor sick mommy.

My girls listen to CDs for hours and hours. I do not have a musical ear at all; I like music and I sing along to the ones I know the words to (but not around people, mostly), but I grew up surrounded by rock music. My dad was a classic rock guy, and he listened to new stuff a lot too, and so when he was around the music was on. But what fascinated me about the girls and music is how intense they are about it. Pants turns it on and reads the liner notes until she knows every word, every. word. by. heart. And she can do that in a day or so. The educator in me (I taught English for a couple years) has spent the last 6 years evaluating their learning styles. Brain is a logical, spatial & scientific, and Miss Pants is musical, linguistic & spatial. So they both love art and music, but in different ways. It is interesting to me to see how these skills progress in school, because the school they are going to has a lot of fine arts opportunities, and Pants has already expressed a desire to learn how to fiddle. She loves violin already, and she is only in kindergarten, and that's the only instrument they play that early on.

Pants is going through a stage where she has musical obsessions, and artists she wants to hear on repeat all the time. Before Christmas we listened to The Muppet Soundtrack over and over on the way to school, and then she got "Speak Now" for her birthday, and then she got an mp3 player that had all "her" music on it, and she would only listen to Taylor Swift and The Design. Now we have the second album from The Design, and it actually has a couple songs with explicit lyric warnings, but I have been letting her listen to the ones that are not, and she has enjoyed that. We know the lead singer for that group, so the dream of growing up and being a rock star is a little more concrete for her, and so often she imagines herself growing up to be a singer and fiddle player in a country band. And Kat came to our house a couple months ago, dressed in her rock star clothes, and played for the girls, and gave them their own guitars and showed them some chords. It was so much fun and I'm sure if they become serious artists in their lifetimes, they will remember that as an event that spurred their love of music. But it is fascinating to me to see how she picks our her favorites and plays music to really listen to it, not just as a noise to have on. Listening is a real activity for her.

So as Pants' musical talents are being nurtured, I have noticed something fun. She has really great taste in music! Even at a young age she was soothed by quiet, pretty singing, and Daddy used to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" in a deep, lullaby tone, and she was one of the only kids ever to learn the additional verses to it (we had a board book that she loved that had all the verses), and she picks out great music to listen too. She surely beats the pants of Mitt Romney in "America the Beautiful"!! And she knows all the words, too.

So Pants' pick this week has been an album that came from who knows where, and she knew all the words when they started playing it on the radio, so I guess she heard it at her grandmother's, which is weird to me because I didn't think this was grandma's style. But Rachel Platten is a new artist, just starting to get radio play on XM, and she has an awesome, sweet song called "1,000 Ships" out right now. "Nothing Ever Happens" is our next fave pick, but ALL the tracks are fun, poppy, lyrical songs. I would definitely suggest checking out ITunes for this underrated but enjoyable artist. I hope we see more of her in the future!

On another note, the winner from Bill & Keith's Excellent Song Contest was "It's not fair to me." Sounds like a cool new song will be coming out from them soon! Can't wait to hear it! In the meantime, let me know what you think of High Dive. The story on "Monster Valentine" is great for next week's holiday event. Share with your kids--coming out on February 14th! Bill is a great story-teller, so I know we'll enjoy it!

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