I thought everyone's life had a soundtrack.
Every significant memory in my life – and even the insignificant ones – have music attached. My earliest memories are all punctuated by songs. Going to Mum's hairdresser reminds me of Mondo Rock, trips away on the houseboat recall the Good Morning, Vietnam soundtrack, driving to school with Dad is all about T-Rex.
Music forms the fabric of my memory. It's rich and varied and so vivid to me, even now, all these years later. My parents' vinyl, singing harmonies with Mum in the car, the cassette tapes of my older cousin informing my definition of what was cool.
Music is inextricably linked to how I perceive my childhood.
Creedence, Joe Cocker, Peter and the Wolf, Queen, Leo Sayer, Chess, Evita, Guys and Dolls, The Everly Brothers, Steely Dan, The Rolling Stones, The Big Chill soundtrack.
Madonna, Whitney Houston, Kylie Minogue, Cyndi Lauper, Grease soundtrack, Rick Astley, Debbie Gibson, Wham!, Eurythmics, Prince, Michael Jackson.
A bunch of generations, all represented, all meaningful.
And that doesn't even begin to cover the all-important music of my angsty teens. It was the '90s. Think Kurt and co.
So it was with great surprise that I met Bren who had zero music memory attached to his childhood. I couldn't fathom that. It wasn't like my parents sat me down and said, "You will listen to this music. You will like it." Music was just part of our lives. And not just background radio that's akin to white noise. Both my parents loved music and played it at any opportunity. Through their music, I think I saw them as people. People who were once young. It said so much about who they had been before they were my boring parents.
So meeting a guy in his 20's, a musician, no less, who had no appreciation for the song-writing brilliance of Billy Joel or that The Beatles were ultimately responsible for any of the music he now listened to and liked just blew my mind. He didn't know what a harmony was. And did not recall music having played a significant part in his life until he was a teenager seeking out music for himself.
People who don't get music? Make me nervous. I guess it's how dog people feel about people like me. But in my defence, music has never slobbered on me.
Now? Bren is immersed in music. From his teen years on, music has been everything. But his catalogue was very limited and quite skewed to the kind of music he made with his band which made him a bit of a musical snob. I like to think I gave him the backlog he was missing. Caught him up somewhat. Broadened his horizons. And taught him how to pick out a harmony – which he's really quite nifty at now.
So together, Bren and I are committed to raising our kids with music. All kinds of music. The music of our generation, generations long gone and of course, of their own. May the house always be filled with singing and their memories be accompanied by a soundtrack that helps them locate those times gone by that are so easily forgotten.
To this end, we've been popping YouTube clips on during dinner prep and dinner itself and exposing our kids to Soundgarden and Steely Dan, The Beatles and Beyoncé, Pearl Jam and Powderfinger. Of course, the little fuckers don't always appreciate our musical selections but Bren and I are finding dinner time much more bearable when our singing can drown out the wailing.
And I know for a fact that each time we play music, this is registering on some subconscious level and will form part of the memory that makes up their childhood.
It was one of the greatest gifts my parents gave me.
We’re passionate about our music too. In fact we met at a gig, with both of us living as much live music as we could, back in the day. And we were married at a music festival! Definitely something our little family is exposed to.
Yay! It’s so refreshing to hear of someone else’s appreciation of music.
Music helped shaped who I am as a person and most memories I have are attached to a song.
I sing (horribly) all the time to my kids. It calmed them when they were babies. It makes them laugh when I need to diffuse a situation. It makes them happy when they’re sad.
Music makes the world go round!
Although I don’t actively seek out new music like I used to, music is important to me and always will be. J and I both have a plethora of songs that we each strongly associate with our childhood; I’d say his exposure was even more eclectic than mine.
I love that my five year old already has a favourite Underworld album that she requests in the car. I look forward to knowing her when she’s an adult, and seeing how her taste in music has shaped up, and what music she remembers from her childhood.
You were married at a music festival? I did not know that! Love it. Very Woodstock of you!
I need to crank out my music more often. Kids arrive and suddenly it’s all about Yo Gabba Gabba and nursery rhymes and Luca is forever telling me I play my music too loud but hell, he needs to loosen up. 😉
I think you should sing to your kids regardless of what it sounds like! Singing is brilliant.
Just last night, Luca was telling me about the song that was stuck in Daddy’s head. Daddy is a shocker for singing one line of a song over and over. But Luca has obviously asked him about it and then he started singing the same line and says, “It’s stuck in my head, too!” I thought that was the coolest moment.
Both my kids sing-talk a lot. Sooooo like me as a kid. But you know what? I never taught them that. It’s just in them. Which thrills me.
The Nietzsche quote is extreme but on the other hand, I can’t imagine not having music. Rediscovering some of our faves over dinner has been so good for me.
Oh MJ, I was barely listening to the music I had let alone discovering anything new. Fortunately, Bren still listens to the Js and some Triple R and through him, I am finding new stuff I love. New Aussie stuff too which is always cool.
Yes, I can’t wait to discover who my kids are through their musical tastes. It’s so informative.
I can’t imagine living through the 60s and 70s and music not have been at the forefront of that experience. How does that happen???
I’m sure you knew! We eloped to Bluesfest & were married barefoot on a beach in Byron Bay.
Yes, I must say, I’ve been well & truly out of the loop since having kids! I listen to their things much more than my own. Shane & I have hundreds of CDs b/w us, we often talk about dragging them out & dusting them off, but haven’t quite got around to it 🙁
Oh, I’m incredibly slack at thinking to put on music when it’s just me at home. Generally, I rely on J to bring home the new discoveries (one of the perks of his job is that he can sit at his desk with ear phones on all day if he wants).
On the rare occasion I ‘discover’ a great album or band before him, and then he ends up loving it too… I love that! We have quite similar tastes, and I couldn’t imagine going through life with a partner that had very different musical tastes.
A lovely blog. When The Little Mumma was 2, in the back of the car, and a song came on that I didn’t like, I would try to turn it off during the intro, but, no, she knew what it was “No Mumma, I like this song!” Pre-school she could tell me (with some urging I admit, which Beatle was singing lead in a song.
Music is my life too – 60+ years of it. I can waste hours tracking down favourites on youtube and himself was playing early Clapton on his phone in bed this morning so I married a music lover too. Again.