As a self-proclaimed but self-conscious average singer, I used my boys as my audience. There were many songs that I sang to them: “ Godspeed” by the Dixie Chicks, ”Angel from Montgomery” (Dave Matthews version), “Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac, “At last” by Etta James, etc. The combination of being too small to escape and my endless barrage of songs from my repertoire gave them two choices: figure out how to overpower me and stuff a cork in it, or join me in my love of music. Thankfully, they realized their limitations, and the requests started rolling in. The Ipod’s integration into automobiles gave us a full jukebox!!
“Once” is a movie Greg and I both love. It is based on a street musician in Dublin and the soundtrack is great! “Falling Slowly,” the main song from the movie became Michael’s favorite. We even recorded the scene in the movie where Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova play it together in the music shop. He watched it over and over again. A junky little toy red guitar was his instrument of choice. It was great fun. I stressed that he had to treat it respectfully before he could have a real one. For Mikey’s fourth birthday, he got a half-size classical guitar. He has never been so excited about a single gift! Having learned most of the words to “Falling Slowly”, the coffee table became his stage. Our friend Dave with is incredibly musical background made the new guitar “sing”. He also showed Mikey how to hold it and strum—the cords will come later. So, pretty much every day we have concert in our living room, where Michael plays and sings along with Glen Hansard to “Falling Slowly”, while we light lighters and throw panties! Just kidding… We have recorded his performances and intend to find the Glen Hansard Fan club and post it to him! We figure he’ll get a real charge out of a four-year old choosing this song as his favorite.
His choice of music doesn’t end with Glen Hansard. The kids and I were going to a friend’s house to play in the pool, and on the way, Michael asks me “Do you have “Stairway to Heaven”?” I practically drove off the road in shock at his knowing of this song. I knew that he knew “Good Times Bad Times” by Led Zeppelin. We’d been calling that “Dahn Dahn” for two years because of its opening measures. He loved “Whole Lotta Love” too, because it has the sound of sirens and airplanes in its solo in the middle (we adults know that it means something else). But this “Stairway to Heaven” request floored me! What can I say—the kid has great taste in music. Apparently Dad does too, because the day before he was shuffling through songs in his car, and Mikey honed in on the guitar at the beginning and told dad to “Play that one.” So that was the advent of his love for “Stairway to Heaven”.
I listen to a lot of classic rock, and sadly many of the musicians are dead. Any time I tell Michael whose song it is, he asks me “Are they dead?” In fact, that question has infected just about any conversation we have about celebrities. At first it was sort of thought-provoking and amusing, but now I’m tired of answering it—“No, they aren’t dead! (I’m really thinking: just shut up and listen!)
Now, Pierce is on the same path. He sings constantly, and we actually recognize what he is singing! We gave him a toy drum for Christmas that has a bunch of musical instruments inside it. The squeeze box is my fav—it cracks me up to see him walking around playing it. It only makes one tone, though, so it sounds a little like an asthmatic baby elephant. Get him and his brother on the piano, and that’s a bit much! A cacophony of sounds from four ambitious hands combined with no knowledge of the keyboard makes for jangled nerves. I remember as a child my dad asking me if I could play that song “Far Far Away?” Haha!!! Got it!!! I’m going to be requesting that one from the boys for a while, but hopefully, one day I’ll be begging them to play for me.