Now I have to admit that I was only half listening to the television, because I was starting dinner at the same time, but this evening on Extra (channel nine) there was a story about mothers using classical music, specifically opera on their unsuspecting small children. Presumably, this is a bid to increase their intelligence. The mothers interviewed were praising the cds etc telling us how much their children enjoyed them etc. I’m sure there’s lots of research that tells us classical music is good for babies and small children. Mozart is good for concentration blah blah blah. But in my humble opinion it’s a variety of musical genres and styles that children should be exposed to. It does them no harm at all.
Witness the music that shaped my childhood:
- Hooked on classics….various albums where medleys of well-known classics were strung together with a drum beat. I learned to recognise most classical standards from these records and it was of great benefit at uni in music history class.
- Donovan – in particular the classic hippie folk song “I Love my shirt” and also “Happiness Runs”. If you’ve never heard them you need to. I’m thinking my parents listened their double album A LOT because I’m singing them now in my head.
- John Denver – Greatest Hits cassette which ran on permanent play in the family car ( a yellow Datsun 200B by the way). Leaving on a Jet Plane is permanently associated in my memory with trips from Bundaberg to Brisbane in the heat of summer (with no airconditioning) to see my Grandparents for Christmas.
- Neil Diamond – Hot August Night (same as for John Denver)
- Godspell Soundtrack – (same as for John Denver and Neil Diamond)
- The Muppet Movie soundtrack – I don’t care what anyone says these are fantastic songs. Particular favourites the Rainbow connection and Movin’ right along.
What do all these albums and artists have in common? Well it’s the basics really…melody, rhythm, lyricism. In other words, they belong to the big wide world of music in just the same way that opera does. For me, a devotion to classical music came later through my own experience of playing it. What’s the moral of the story? I’m not sure…but I’m off to you tube now to look up those Muppet movie songs.