Friday, March 02, 2007

Petting instead of Ranting

On the way to work today, I heard an announcement about an NSO family concert that included an instrument petting zoo. I longed for a child or a grandchild to take to pet a violin or a saxophone or a double bass.

It made me wonder how we determine our musical preference. Is it what we heard as children? What our parents liked? What our parents didn't like?

In my case, I don't actually remember a lot of music in my home as I grew up. There was the popular music my mother listened to on the radio as she did her housework while the Arthur Godfrey show aired. There was Saturday night with Lawrence Welk. There was a period of several months when I was introduced to musicals because one of the grocery stores (either the A&P or the Piggly Wiggly) offered a different record every week for $1.99. I listened over and over to Oklahoma, Kiss Me Kate, South Pacific, and other gems.

It was when I started taking piano lessons and using the John Thompson series that I found my passion for classical music. Having an interest in classical music as a 12-year-old is really swimming upstream. But that was OK with me. I played everything I could get my hands on.

As a teenager I learned the value of popular music when I took on the job of painting the interior of our house (at $20 a room). Whereas I couldn't slap the paint on with a background of Chopin, the Lovin' Spoonful was just perfect.

I came to love the Beatles' music. It took me a few years to get there, but right around the time of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band I was hooked.

Today my music of choice is usually classical. I hear a lot of other music with guitar and crooning singers that comes from my husband's iPOD. Some of it resonates with me, and some of it is just background music.

So back to my original reason for writing. How did I fail to impart my love of classical music to my children? Neither of them would ever choose to listen to "my" music for more than 5 minutes. Maybe if we had petted a few more instruments together...


Blogger Golden Silence said...

My father was a deejay in his younger years, so I was exposed to different things growing up. Most of the stuff listened to in my house was R&B (which I have picked up an interest in) and rap (which I avoid like the plague). Other things, like Duran Duran and Culture Club (which I looooooooove!) played in the background, but only I love pop. My family doesn't consider pop "black enough."

As for instruments, I tried violin in 3rd grade, clarinet in 6th, and keyboards in 10th. My parents wanted us to take up instruments, but would complain that we made too much noise. Hypocrites.

Music...real music...should definitely be encouraged!

3:25 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Yes, it does seem unusual that they wouldn't get into it even if were not their favourite. We were really influenced by the music in our home and our parents took us to see all those musicals...Camelot, My Fair Lady,Brigadoon ec. and I still love going to them today.

Maybe your kids listened to David's music more! Are they into folk, R&B, Jazz?

3:41 PM  
Anonymous David said...

well, we did introduce R to the piano - actually she insisted on the introduction and, so she was properly exposed to classical.

but, alas, she does seem to gravitate more toward today's pop music (for 20 year olds) and even leans a little toward what you might call modern folk. however, she claimed no interest in my kind of music as a kid.

but, maybe she got my music interest genes after all. as far as d, he marches to his own music drummer.

classical is a hard sell these days.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

My siblings and I all like a little bit of everything, so I don't suppose any of us are all that different from our parents.

I did see Peter, Paul and Mary with my mom my freshman year of college. I'm glad we shared the experience; she'd seen them when she was in college.

I suppose that sharing is the part of the point of the petting, that and general appreciation. I grew up with a music room. Not everybody is so lucky.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

As I mentioned on your opera post, I grew up listening to Saturday at the Met on the radio with my Dad. My brother took piano, later the cornet; I took ballet (for 14 years!) My younger son started the clarinet in 5th grade and graduated from Cal Arts in clarinet performance; he met his wife there (a violin & piano virtuouso) who ended up with a PhD from UC San Diego in composing). When asked what he wanted for his 6th birthday, my grandson Atticus said "a guitar." I guess he figured the piano, reeds, and violin were covered in the family! :-) He got a real guitar by the way!

When I retire late this spring my plan is to rent a piano and start lessons. We'll see...........:-)

7:34 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

GoldenSilence -- I love the fact that your father was a deejay. I must confess that I know nothing about Duran Duran or Culture Club, but I'm often ignorant of what is popular.

MOI -- I agree that the musicals are something everyone should be exposed to. One of the highlights of music class in school was singing things like "Some Enchanted Evening" and "Oklahoma". My children simply evolved their own taste in music and it's really not the music of either of their parents.

David -- I do think you and R are in sync when it comes to music. She likes people like Nora Jones. But then she has other interests that aren't yours. It's sad to think that classical music might just disappear if no one wanted to listen to it any longer. What a loss!

Kristin -- I don't know anyone who grew up with a music room! What exactly did you do there?

Kate -- I want to come to your first piano recital!

8:27 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

My sisters and I used to sit in front of the radio cabinet on Sunday mornings after church and listen to classical music (much of which I recognized from Saturday morning cartoons!) and I would make up stories to go with the music. My children grew up with eclectic musical tastes but every one of them likes some classical.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

There will probably be a time that they will come back and express a desire to hear you play. I just thought of an anger management solution. Play Rachmananoff!

10:46 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- I don't recall hearing classical music with my cartoons in northern Florida. Maybe it was only the northern cartoons that were that classy!

OldLady -- This isn't about their hearing me play. I would be happy if they just set one car radio button to a classical station! Of course in our area there is only one now, so maybe David is right about a total lack of interest.

6:47 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

lol - most of the Bugs Bunny cartoons were set to classical music. And then, of course, there was the Lone Ranger...

7:07 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- Now that you mention it, I do remember "Spring Song" even in northern Florida cartoons. I think it was a very small repertoire though.

8:49 AM  

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