On Music

Widget is musically inclined.

That’s like saying that the QE2 was designed to float.

I don’t know how it happened, really, it just did.

Oh, sure, we did all the right things with him.  I have played music for him every day since his birth.  Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, but also Pete Seeger, Harry Chapin, John Coltrane, and then the kids music:  Laurie Berkner, Tom Chapin, Sandra Boyton’s arrangements, and the good folks featured over on Noggin like Nuttin But Stings and those groundhog guys.  I sang to him every night at bedtime.  Every night.  Everything from traditional nursery songs like Baby’s Boat to We Shall Overcome to the Hallelujah Chorus.  I made it a point to get up and dance with him every morning until I was sentenced to bed rest (for those of you playing bed rest bingo — there it is!).  At that point, we turned to musical instruments.

Over the past year, Widget has picked up and fallen in love with rhythm sticks, boomwhackers, maracas, wrist bells, a triangle, the xylophone, the guitar (oh, the guitar), the piano (tiny, plastic piano), and now the violin.  He is positively obsessed with the guitar, the piano, and the violin right now.  He picks up an instrument, moves into position, and just rocks out, concentrating, playing music that only he can hear.  Often, the “instrument” is a simple piece of PVC pipe that just last week was a hair dryer, and the week before a leaf blower in his little world.  Even more often, the guitar is a grooved piece of maple that Mommy carved on Grampa’s lathe last summer.  It has great details and frets that make it feel good to strum.  Anything can be a piano, and Widget attacks flat surfaces with a vibrant joy and an enthusiasm that brings the joy right down into my heart like an arrow.  Widget’s latest love, however, is the violin.  It started by tucking his guitar up under his chin, progressed to adding a “bow” using a dowel, rhythm stick, or whatever was handy, and now is typically a wood thingamajig that Grampa made, with a rhythm stick as the bow.  He picks it up at all times of day, and just rocks out.

When the grandparents were visiting for Little Bear’s baptism last week, we had a concert!  Widget passed out instruments to all of us in the family room and we all played along.  He stood on the train table (don’t worry, it’s sturdy enough to hold Mommy!), pointed at each of us in succession, and said, “GO!”  Then all of us played along good-naturedly as we chatted and talked of grown-up things. 

That night, Aunt Deerwatcher went downstairs to watch PBS for a little while while we prepared the boys for bed.  She came back up to announce that there was an Andre Rieu concert on that she thought Widget might enjoy.  Well, enjoy he did!  We sat on the bed downstairs for nearly an hour past Widget’s bedtime, watching this great man conduct and sing and play the violin in his amazing Dublin concert.  Widget leaned forward, little chin on little hand, absorbed in the interplay of brass and strings, and when the rare break occured between pieces, he applauded mightily with his little hands.

He was transfixed.

I don’t know how (or if) this obsession will end, but, frankly, I hope it never does.


6 Responses to On Music

  1. bon says:

    what a beautiful image, Widget watching and clapping.

    poor O has not a musical gene in his body, but we’re hoping sheer exposure will at least pound a love of the stuff into him, if not a talent for it.

  2. canape says:

    I am so excited to hear this!

  3. Hi prom goer, tag…you’re it. Nice to meet you.

  4. […] weekend before Easter brought a more complicated scenario, this one musical, and entirely of his own invention and execution.  In the living/playroom, Widget would grab the […]

  5. Sarah Hester says:

    Love of music is learned. You are reaping the benefits of the rich environment you’ve created for your little ones. My compliments!

    On talent: A very wise music teacher in the last years of more than 50 years teaching voice and piano told me: “Give me somebody with the want-to any day over somebody with talent.”

    Try to remember that when it doesn’t sound like music. (But who I am to talk. I liked listening to my daughters practice their various instruments at all stages of development. That included drums, violin and voice.)

    These are the good ole days,
    Grandmama Sarah

  6. […] is frequent and thorough.  We make many of our own toys, out of pieces of scrap wood (okay, Grandpa makes many of those); PVC pipe and connectors; ribbon, yarn, boxes, and similar “found” […]

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