Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kid's first music

I really resonated with this report on NPR the other day about people making the choice of the first music to expose their children to after they are born.  I'm a music lover, so this is something on which I too spent quite a bit of attention.  The guy in the interview said he chose John Coltrane's A Love Supreme.  I must commend this choice, for the same reasons that the Church of St. John Coltrane use his music as a prophetic gift to the world.  
For Wesley's birth at the UCLA Medical Center, I chose another prophet, and brought the whole Songs of Freedom box set to the hospital to listen to while waiting for Wesley to be born.   I remember a tall pretty nurse with
 braids smiling and commending our choice.  The doc asked to turn it down at a particularly intense moment (Wesley had to have a vacuum assisted delivery), and after Wesley finally came into the world and I got around to turning it back up, Bob was singing "Everything's Gonna be alright, Everything's gonna be alright."  That was serendipitous.  Both of my kids had a healthy dose of reggae in utero and afterwards.  I found the old headphones my dad had for our record player, and I'd put them on
 Lara's belly for a bit of music time.  After Wesley was born, we had 10 songs we'd sing him at night, including Beach Boy's Barbara Ann (which we changed to "Wea, Wea, Wea, Wea, Wesley G.  He's all right by me e e.") and Summertime from Porgy and Bess.   He also heard Bob Marley's Thank You Lord.  That's kind of his evening prayer song.  He ended up singing that one and Deep and Wide, and Into my Heart (like I did as a kid) as prayer songs.  Almost every night, he also listens to a CD of lullabies that Katherine gave us when he was born .
For a while, we were going to name Julianna Susanna, and I enjoyed playing for her Dandy Livingstone's Susanne Beware of the Devil in utero.  But we went with Julianna instead, and I have yet to think of a song called Julianna.  Sometimes I sing to her Fleetwood Mac's Rhiannon 
substituting Julianna for Rhiannon.  I knew what I wanted to play for her as soon as we first knew we were having a girl though: Stevie Wonder's Isn't She Lovely?  That one's made to sing to a baby girl after all.  
We didn't bring music into the hospital for her, so she only heard silence for her first day or so, then listened to that in the car on the way home from Tulsa.  Since then, she also really seems to like the 40's on 4 on Sirius radio.  That's what we listen to most of the time as we prepare dinner and eat.  It seems to make things taste better.  

Perhaps the appreciation of music will be something my kids can pick up from me.  I used to love sitting by the record player and listening to my mom and dad's Stevie Wonder and John Denver and Jackson Browne and Crosby, Stills, and Nash and Aretha Franklin.  Every time we go to Eureka Springs, I hear Ann Murray.  My first records were Thrller, John Denver and the Muppets, and the soundtrack to the Fox and the Hound.  I also had the Hands Across America benefit album.  Hahaha.  I went to "Hands across America" by the way.  Was I in line with any of my readers?  
  I look forward to finding out what sounds have imprinted themselves on the minds of my children.  Perhaps this kind of environment building is important to me because I hope those imprints are something beautiful.  
Do you have first songs for your kids?  Any first songs you recall?  Comment away!

1 comment:

  1. I put together a fantastic labor playlist - two actually, one for resting and one for active labor. I put some fun songs on the second one, for kicks... which is how Juliette, the daughter of two serious music lovers, was born to the sound of Christina Aguilera singing "Ain't No Other Man". Oh well, we're making up for that every day!