When I was a kid, the record player and radio were on constantly. Our childhood was acted out in a symphony of Simon and Garfunkel, Abba, Neil Diamond, Beethoven, Nana Mouskouri (I kid you not) and Bach. My mother’s tastes.
In 2013, I’m as much into music as I ever was, but I’ve realised that our household is mostly silent. Oh, except for the incessant chorus of sibling bickering and the juvenile chimes of “How do I look?” when 3 y.o fronts up in a fetching witch’s hat, flower-shaped glasses and a bee costume.
Technology has turned us into silent music lovers. When I listen to music nowadays it’s on the tram with my headphones on. Or working at the computer with my headphones on and my mouse hovered over iTunes. Husbando pops his headphones on when he washes the dishes. We listen to Jazz on Saturdays on PBS sometimes but commercial, even ABC, radio is so fraught with infernal “nattering” and ads that I can’t listen to it. I prefer quiet in the car to having the radio on.
I sometimes fear that my kids won’t have a soundtrack to their childhood. We listen to music on Youtube sometimes—a vetted cocktail of We the Kings, Katy Perry, Abba etc., but music has been largely relegated to silent enjoyment without us even noticing. I remember albums. For my 8 year old, she has no concept of albums, only songs that are popular. I remember being 8 and lovingly fingering (gutter. minds. out. please) the back cover of “A Hard Day’s Night” album because I was in love with the photo of George Harrison. I remember watching the black psychedelia of circling vinyl. Scout has no concept of it—of the beauty of it.
Scout loves to sing—she is our radio mostly, but it’s occurring to me that we may be depriving them of a thorough musical education, even though our own love of music hasn’t actually changed.
I have a huge music vocabulary because it was around me all the time when I was growing up. I want that for my kids so I’m making a deliberate change. Anyone have a spare turntable they’d sell me?