I often tell stories in my music workshops about prospective preschool parents who corner me at a meeting and whisper in hushed confidential tones, “You’re going to love my little Susie. She just loves music!” And go on to tell about how I resist the impulse to whisper back, “So does every child ever born on this planet!” Because they’re trained to think of music as an unusual talent reserved for the special, these parents see their child’s proclivity to sing and dance all day long as something special. Of course, I don’t burst their bubble, but just nod my head and smile.
Well, I’ve become one of those parents!!! Grandparents, to be exact. I am simply amazed by my granddaughter Zadie. At two and a half, not only does she know the words to some 10 songs and sings them somewhat in tune, but she scat sings her own compositions while playing xylophone, while painting, while dancing. (Some of this posted on Facebook for anyone curious to see and hear for themselves).
Here on her visit to my house, she grabs me by the hand and leads me to the piano so we can have a duet session together. Then goes to my small percussion basket and works on her shaker, scraper, kazoo, slide whistle and recorder skills. Some of which are piercing, some occasionally astounding (some amazing rhythm she stumbled into on the shakers) and all of which are unabashedly expressive in the integrated style of the young toddler before the culture of specialization gets its hands on her.
Today, she added harmonica to the repertoire and immediately got both the inhale and the exhale. Then started singing in-between harmonica solos and Bob Dylan, move over! Of course, comparisons are odious and I have no aspirations for her to be a professional musician. I haven’t booked a spot on American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance. I just love to hang at with her as a model of the way humans are supposed to be. Not only musically, but in so many other ways. Her expressive face, her inquisitive mind, her hilarious comments, her genuine sense of humor, her loving hugs. Yeah, she’s “naughty” too and has a few things to learn about social integration, but I’d choose to hang out with her over most adults.
Remember my last entry? I’m close to saying to Zadie what my Mom said to me:
“I love it. I love everything about you. Everything.”
Now let’s go play some harmonica, baby!