The Sound of Memories: Sharing the Importance of Music with our Kids
The four of us were snugged in the minivan on a trip home to visit family in Wisconsin. The background sounds that accompanied the quintessential traveling question “Are we there yet?”, requests for snacks, and screams that result from long-arm reaches to pull sister’s arm, were the words of Johnny Cash: “And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County. Down by the green river where paradise lay.”
And then, something beautiful, something provoked by the Man in Black himself, came from a pink clad toe head in the backseat “I dove this song”. As peaceful of a statement as it appears to be in written form, coming from the mouth of Haze, a two year old, that ‘dove’ is her way of saying love. “You do?” flies out of my mouth as quick as the turn of my head to stay within the lines and witness the face of our two year old daughter recalling a song and applying a value to it. I turned the dial up and smiled.
[pullquote type=”2″ align=”right”]“From the Beatles to the Beastie Boys, back around to Bob Dylan and Modest Mouse; I have been influenced and moved by art that emanates in waves from individuals who choose to express their view of the world through instruments, words, and noise.”[/pullquote]Our trip had family moments punctuated by music, a fifth person rolling down the freeway with us as we battle small bladders and sore bottoms. It was a reassuring sound while we slept in unfamiliar beds, and an excuse for freak-out dance parties after half day drives.
Music is an open invitation to sing, create songs, air guitar, pound on objects. It also makes parental requests more palatable, turning a demand, “Please shut the door” into a Julie Andrews request. Music has the power to transform any situation; it is not just something we listen to, it’s a “thing” that works in concert with periods in our lives, and helps us recall moments that would otherwise be left up to our sense of smell to retrieve. Although I’m not sure I want to remember the smells of the Odyssey after 3,000 miles with Haze and Mae. I, of course, smell like roses after foregoing a shower for more sleep.
I love music. It’s as simple as that. I have been listening to, discovering, and applying sounds and lyrics to my life since I can remember. I was fortunate to have family that shared their individual, mostly eclectic, musical tastes with me. From the Beatles to the Beastie Boys, back around to Bob Dylan and Modest Mouse; I have been influenced and moved by art that emanates in waves from individuals who choose to express their view of the world through instruments, words, and noise.
Obviously, it is my duty to share this passion with our girls so that they have a healthy understanding of the people, and bands, who may impact their lives in a way that helps relax their bodies, challenge their minds, sustain memories, and better understand the world through another person’s perspective.
So, when I hear random thoughts turned into song, children’s versions of classics while weaving through traffic, or organ keys pounded on top level at 7:00 in the morning, I lift a happy brow, and can’t help but wonder where their relationship with music will take them. I can only expect that they will find the same comforts and joys that I have, and perhaps one day they will listen to “Paradise” by Johnny Cash, and be flooded with memories of summer days spent swimming with cousins and July evenings filled with smores, sun-chill cuddles, and before bed snacks with their grandparents.
What are some of your favorite musical memories with your kids? What songs trigger your childhood memories?
Andrew Meyer is a Special Education teacher from Madison, Wisconsin, whose wife’s job relocation changed their family roles and physical location. He's now a stay-at-home dad in Madison, Alabama, to two awesomely creative, sometimes challenging, and mostly sweet five and two-year-old girls who fill his days, nights, and in-between spaces. When with or without them, he writes, works-out, wonders, wishes he wouldn’t worry, wrestles with his wife’s commitment to her job, and listens to music. You can also find him at www.papasense.wordpress.com, on Twitter @papasense, and Facebook.
My kids love music as much as I do. We love to make a game of singing instead of talking, especially while doing chores. Singing makes chores fun 🙂
Yes, singing seems to take our minds off of the task at hand. “Whistle while you work” Thanks for the comment.
What is it about Johnny Cash and children? My niece LOVED him as a toddler and would request/yell “Johnny Cash!!” from the backseat. Just this week, my 2 year-old this was talking about onion rings in the car on very random occasions. Then it hit me that “Ring of Fire” was playing each time!
That is funny. That bass-baritone is pretty comforting.
When I was little, my grandmother used to rock me and sing Leadbelly’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” When my boys heard Nirvana’s cover they couldn’t believe those guys knew my lullaby.
Bang bang Maxwell’s silver hammer came down upon his head…. With father’s strummin’….. And hacked kids’ squelpin’….
I remember it well. ‘Squelpin’ I like that.
Music makes kids smarter, too!
And teenagers act more interesting – see “metal” concerts. 🙂 I know what you mean and sure hope so. Thanks for commenting.
I love music! That is a great story, thanks for sharing.
What a great story! Music has always been a part of my life, and I hope to instill that in my daughter as well. Some of my favorite memories already are from our mommy and me music class 🙂
Music is an instant stress reliever for me and my children. I treasure the time that we spend singing and dancing to our favorite tunes. Music can lighten a mood, inspire someone and create loving, wonderful memories! Thanks for such a great article!
I’ve tried to get my children into music from day one. Yesterday we were jamming out to Led Zeppelin and I was astounded how much fun my 1 and 3 year olds were having with me. Sure, we have a kids CD in the car for when they get all cranky and just start screaming “Twinkle Twinkle! I want twinkle twinkle!” (the power that song has is incredible). But they like other things too, which makes me a happy momma!
I can remember singing in the car with my mom and siser. I am now doing the same with my daughter! A song or melody will put me right back in the car and I hope it does the same for my daughter.