I never dreamed of this but am I raising a musical prodigy?
We’re pretty big on music in our house. In the same way I never entirely trust someone who doesn’t read anything, I always think people who aren’t passionate about any sort of music are probably missing a bit of their soul. I feel the same about movies, but that’s probably a rant for another day.
So since she was born, Flea’s been exposed to all sorts of music. She knows the lyrics to all sorts of random songs by people like BB King, The Smiths and even James Taylor, although her preference is emo rock music like Muse and Panic at the Disco. She loves anything with a loud bass or drumline, and can often be heard saying things like, “Turn it up Mummy, it’s Linkin’ Park!”
I take the view that I don’t mind what music she’s listening to, so long as she’s enjoying it – providing it’s nothing offensive like kids’ party CDs or Simply Red. Flea received a Baby Taylor scaled-down guitar for her seventh birthday and a friend gave her some lessons.
I know it’s all sort of doomed and one day Flea will consider all this music to be deeply sad and embarrassing “old person” music, but I like to think I’m giving her a good start. Don’t we all?
Anyway, given this intensive musical education, it’s hardly surprising that my daughter has already turned her talents to composing. Today, at an intimate gig attended by close family, my little musical prodigy performed her own composition, “The Monkey Song“.
I’ve recorded the lyrics below for posterity and I think you’ll agree, it whoops the ass of anything Dylan ever put out. Ahem:
Once upon a time there was a monkey
Uh yeah, and he was sitting in a tree.
And he saw some bananas
Ooooh, but they were in a different tree
And he couldn’t reach them
So he went swinging
Yes, he swing-ed from the tree
To the next tree
And he was swinging
Uh, to the next tree, oooh
He was swinging
A long, long, long, long, long way to the next tree
But it was the wrong tree
And then he saw another monkey
In the tree with the bananas in
And that monkey ate them all.
It’s like poetry, innit?
If you’re also wondering Am I Raising a Musical Prodigy the answer is – honestly – probably no. But I think there are some things you can do to nurture a child’s love of music. That’s probably the most important thing.
How to raise a musical prodigy:
Play all sorts of music
Luckily, Flea’s Dad and I have entirely different tastes in music. He plays her classic rock and punk and jazz. I play her pop music and country music and she’s discovered a love of Japanese jazz that is all her own. Don’t point out ‘good’ or ‘bad’ music but simply let all music be enjoyed for its own qualities. But do make sure they know the important albums, obviously!
Let kids play instruments
Over the years, Flea has learned the basics of playing the guitar, and she also had singing lessons. While she’s unlikely to achieve global fame with either, I think it’s a great way for children to understand music better. As an added bonus, learning an instrument helps children realise that it practice is what makes you good at things, as a rule.
Go to Concerts
Taking your children to a live gig that’s reasonably age appropriate is a fantastic way to make music really REALLY exciting. And even if you end up not raising a musical prodigy, what’s not to love about seeing your favourite band live?