My mother used to listen to the washing machine and start humming to herself. “WeWantYou…WeWantYou…WeWantWeWantWeWantYou…” she would say over and over again to herself, to the rhythm of the sound of swishing water i. One my earliest memories is driving home from preschool, with my mom blasting Tracy Chapman. “Words Don’t Come Easily….Like I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”, she’d hum to herself. As we we made a right turn onto our block, she would start saying “Christmas-Christmas-MerryMerryChristmas” to the sound of the turning signal. And then immediately, she’d be back to her Tracy Chapman.
We are constantly reminded that the level of parent’s education, the degree to which they read to their children, and the number of books that parent’s have in the house have a tremendous effect on whether a child struggles or not in literacy and math. While I don’t know if this has been empirically the case, I would gander that the degree to which children appreciate music has a tremendous amount to do with our parents listening habits. My mom is not a musician, but her musicality was constantly on display. To help my brother and me learn how to spell our names, she created a song. To help memorize phone numbers, she had us sing them back to her. She and my dad would have dance parties featuring Michael Jackson and Bel-Biv-Devoe. Looking back on it, my parents were music marathoners. It seems to me that if we want to save music in our schools, we have to appeal to the power that music has had for parents! Kids know the lyrics to the songs their parents listen to, well after childhood. They remember the long car rides by the songs mom played. We must show our local, state, and national elected officials that children actually learn a tremendous amount from this sort of musicality, and that honing the things that parents have nurtured in children will make for a population that truly is superiorly educated.