Both Emily and I graduated with Music degrees from Spring Arbor University. In fact, we met in a class called Music Perspectives, which, for us, has the double meaning of seeing music from different perspectives and meeting our perspective spouses. Well played, SAU.
Anyway, us two music majors didn’t want to force our kids into music. We both grew up around music but, as far as I can remember, I never felt pressured into it. This is a good thing. But Emily and I actually went to school and took on debt to know what we know. As we watched our kids in the early days of their music-making, it wasn’t always easy, holding back Whiplash-like admonishments like you’re posture is off, you need to practice your scales, tune that or I will destroy you.
Thankfully all three have drifted into music at their own pace. Mac is turning into quite the guitar player. It used to be that I’d show him how to play chords and strum. But now the teacher has become the student, thanks in part to YouTube tutorials and his superbly plastic brain, which picks things up instantly. Zac plays complex rhythms in mixed meter and has a perfect internal metronome. He’s a better drummer at 10 than I was in college on our summer band tours. And Lexi, unique as she is in so many ways, loves to go over to the piano and play all kinds of wild intervals. She looks for two notes to bounce between, searching until she finds the right consonance — a Perfect 5th, Minor 7th, Augmented 4th (we discourage that one). When she’s not playing music, she needs to hear her Wheels on the Bus mix tape. I’m no statistician , but I can confidently proclaim that we have clicked that link 38 billion times in the last week alone.
We are fortunate to have some great instruments in our home which get played quite regularly. Our house sounds like a busy weekend at Guitar Center, except that no one is playing Stairway to Heaven and I’m not selling warranty protection plans. It’s not all top notch equipment, but it’s good. We love the cacophony on the Kawai, the Strat, the Gretsch, the Yamaha, and even the Behringer.
Imagine my strange delight, then, when I noticed that everyone was playing the Fisher Price version of all these instruments. A Paper Jamz guitar, a Yamaha “My First Drum Machine” unit, and frisbees for cymbals. But then I realized that this was for an outdoor concert to welcome the spring, and, as much as I like a driveway music festival, I sure felt good about having the beaters out in the weather rather than the real deal.
One of these days — maybe on a Tuesday — we’ll do something all together as a “musical family”, like the Partridge Family did so many years ago. The only reason I know about David Cassidy et al is because of reruns on the Nick at Nite cable channel. Knowing some of the backstory always gave me a deeper understanding of Danny Bonaduce, though I cannot fully explain the enigma to this day. Nor should I.