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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Teaching my kids some (musical) values

Da-da-Daa dada daDaa da-da-daa da-daaa

If you didn't already guess it...this is my 17 months old son mimicking a famous guitar sequence of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water". Apparently he picked it up while his older brother (9) was seeking out all versions of this song he could find on YouTube. I don't know how he got to hear this song, and I'm not much into this band, but it made me think...maybe this could be the start of something wonderful. Yeah, I know that statement is kind of cliche, but nevertheless I feel that I am on to something here.

Let me explain...My son has had a MP3 player for some time. Initially I put 15 good, somewhat popular songs on it, that he listened to for a while and then probably forgot about. Then he asked me if I could put 'Smoke' on it so that he could listen to it without the computer, cause his mother was getting a little enough of co-listening to it, and was thinking that his computer time was getting a little excessive. I told him "sure" and suggested that we also found some more material, since he was already bored of the 15 songs already on the device. What I didn't tell him was about my "evil" plan to slowly introduce him to "real music". This is something that has been in the back of my mind since I got kids; to "help" them discover music that is inspirational, entertaining and appreciated rather then just being the background noise of their lives.

Now, given the task of filling a MP3 player with music, what would you put on it? If the only requirement is that it should be good music, should you choose the things you like yourself or would it be fair to choose from all kinds of genres in order to give the potential listener more choice? Well, I'm not ashamed to say that I will try to instill in my son a taste for the music I prefer listening to, and I don't find that selfish in any way. You see, something that can bring people together more than anything music. And I can think of no better cause than cultive the relationship with my son. If his potential love for jazz or classical music is to suffer because of be it.

So I accidentally copied 2 songs onto the player with the names of Mystery Train and Sunrise on Mars (by Transatlantic and Threshold). Only 2 since I didn't want to scare him too much with unknown songs. You know the thing with kids, you just have to listen to the popular stuff to be cool. His reaction? Well he didn't care much about Threshold, but surprisingly he thought that Transatlantic was "way cool". Sad for the Thresholders, but great for my son. I like Threshold, but I still consider them to be only a few "measures and signatures" from mainstream. Transatlantic is on a completely different level. It is true that Mystery Train is not the most complex song made by the band, but it is a supreme display of greater musicianship compared to what "normal" people listen to these days.

To come back to the statement I made earlier about jazz and classical. It is actually a bit contradictory. I have found that prog can be the doorway leading to great discoveries in music. Before I got into prog I was completely anti jazz and classical (including opera), but now I'm open to both categories. Because there are no rules in prog, anything can be incorporated into it. Sometimes the result is bad, but a great many times the result is purely amazing. Just a side remark here: if you hate jazz and start liking The flower are doomed to eternal schizophrenia.

Before I end this, it is time for the million dollar question...

What should I put on the MP3 player next?


therek said...

How about 'You Broke the Sun' by Abydos? A wonderful piece of prog with theatrical-like vocal arrangements.

BG said...

I don't remember the tune...but I'll check it out. Thanks.

I think to get a kid started with prog the songs should not be overly complicated. So anything psychedelic or math related is probably not a good choice. Leaving the cookies in the jar is probably also a good idea (would hate to scare his mother).

stringray said...

At the age of 8 my nephew heard my ring tone, which was actually the main theme of Ytse Jam and he instantly started banging to the complex rhythm, though he listens to standard pop. I gave him the entire tune and he loves it still. The first step is done... Try it.

MAVIII said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MAVIII said...

"If you didn't already guess it...this is my 17 months old son mimicking a famous guitar sequence of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water". Apparently he picked it up while his older brother (9) was seeking out all versions of this song he could find on YouTube."
...That makes me want to cry! :P

"...and I'm not much into this band"
...That makes me want to SLAP you! (hehehe)

Wow BG, raising them kids right, good for you!
I've said before that I was raised with soo much music that it was Prog and Metal that took all my musical experiences into all the sub-genres of the 2.

I think your Son has the same ear as me, Threshold was never a big deal for me (BG then SLAPS me! except for the 1st album, go figure) and is on his way of being a Blackmore fan :D

As far as suggestions (no order):
1. Dream Theater- "Take the Time"
(then start him listening to their history-I'd start from WDADU to present, see what he thinks of each. Get him the "Best of Album" perhaps).
2. Rush- Vital Signs (I dont know why, maybe the "Reggae" beats will appeal to him with the Rock/Prog sensibilities. I'd go onto the other Tracks of "Moving Pictures", then see if he is ready for "Farewell to Kings" and "Hemispheres" then "Perminant Waves").
3. Fates Warning- Monument (A small Epic that may appeal to the "Wow" factor, That'll start the FW Journey).
4. Pink Floyd- Welcome to the Machine (the opening "Machine" SoundFX intrigued me soo damn much as a child, it got me a little prepared for "Animals")
5. Yes- a. "Close to the Edge" (now before you go accusing me of trying to get your kids into LSD:P That song, when I 1st heard it, I was totally blown away by the SoundFX and the different layers of all the Band members, that I wished I discovered it when it was released. It was like entering into a Storybook of Sound).
b. "Tempus Fugit" (a bit more aggressive and your Son will think the singer is Jon Anderson, he will start "looking into their history" :).
6. Rainbow -"Tarot Woman" (Again, the opening Synths are the gateway to the fantastic album of "Rising" and his introduction of "Ronnie James Dio" and the Progression of Blackmore).
7. Deep Purple - a. "Highway Star/Made in Japan(Live)Version"
(Awesome Guitar Solos, Drumming, Bass, Hammond Solo, and Ian Gillan just WAILING on the Mic!).
b. "You Fool No-one" A Funky/Hard Rock song with some great riffs with David Coverdale/Glenn Hughes singing ("Burn" album), again, it will entice your son to notice, "Hey Pappa', the singer(s) is different!").
8. Genesis -Either "Wind and Wuthering" or "Trick of the Tail" album Tracks, this will be another doorway to their legacy for your Sons to discover).

You be sure to tell us how he reacts to all our suggestions :)

...Youre a good Pappa BG ;)

LordPL said...

Marillion H-era...

LordPL said...

and Porky Tree (Lightbulb Sun, In Absentia, Deadwing: the more 'pop' stuff rather than the early LSD-trips ;))

BG said...

Thank's guys for your suggestions, I think some of the tunes are actually catchy enough to survive the attention span of my 9 year old son.