Thursday, March 25, 2010

♫ Musical ear? ♫

I read a study once that indicated that musical ability is 70% an inherited trait. People without the "ear" for music can practice a lot and become respectable musicians, but will probably never be concert pianists, while those with better musical genes still have to practice hard, their potential is much higher than people without the inherited "ear". 

Growing up, we as a family loved to sing. Our family home evenings would be at least half-filled with primary songs and hymns and despite the fact that the musical ear eluded 8 out of the 10 of us, we still belted out the songs with gusto.  Our rousing choruses of, "The Iron Rod," were, um, ear splitting enthusiastic and awe ahhh inspiring.

When I married Glen I was thrilled to give my kids a chance at inheriting some musical genes.   Thus far, it's looking about 50/50 (no names mentioned). 

Despite my self-deprecation about my own inabilities, we as parents, still try to make music an important part of our lives.  Taking the cue from my parents, our family home evenings and bedtime routines are music filled.  We sing hymns, primary songs, and fun preschool songs.  While I sometimes worry that somehow I'll ruin the kids' good musical ears with my enthusiastic out-of-tune singing, it is my hope that the songs become as much a part of their hearts as their minds. 

With the floundering economy recently, our school district has been proposing a number of budget cuts for the upcoming years.  While I'm sad that they will no longer be learning Chinese at the elementary school and I sure hope they don't make the class sizes too big, for selfish reasons I really, really, really hope they don't cut down music.  I view their two days a week in school music time as their only hope at proper training (and opportunities for performance).   They do take piano lessons too, but it's the singing I get excited about. 

Our school's music program is wonderful and gets the kids excited about singing.  One of the things I love is that each year each of the grades performs a musical for the parents.  It must be a ton of work for the music teachers, but it's one of the highlights of the year for me. Tonight was the 1st grade musical, Stone Soup, and it totally reaffirmed to me how much I hope that the music program stays strong through the budget cuts. 

The past couple weeks have found Adam (aka Peasant Boy Narrator) practicing his lines over and over again.  He was so dedicated to practicing that it didn't take long before  Ellie, overhearing his recitations, appointed herself his understudy, and can easily recite his three-line part word for word.

And this is mostly for the grandparents' sake, but if you want to see 30 seconds of total cuteness, here's a little video of his performance (plus about 10 seconds of the singing)... 

Translation:  "  Once upon a time, three soldiers were marching home from war.  Their names were Captain Andy, Private Charlie, and Private Max.  They were tired and hungry and were looking for a village to find some food."

♫  How often do your kids have music in school?  Is your district considering budget cuts too?  Do you have the musical ear?  What about your kids?  



Denise said...

Thank goodness we don't have too many cuts planned in our district. The kids all do strings in 5th grade. They get music once a week. And middle school is band or orchestra.

All my kids are musical...thank goodness, cause I'm tone deaf. It's not pretty.

Lara said...

Yeah, it looks like our budget cuts won't be quite as painful as previously thought. It looks like they're mostly administrative and janitorial positions they're cutting.

Charlene said...

I sing only to my children. My children don't enjoy singing as much, but they do love to play musical instruments. So far we are ok here, and I'm hoping out there you guys still have it when we get there!

Braden said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog. I teach choir in middle school (which is possibly the least musical age in the world)--happily it's a private school so cuts aren't quite as threatening to us. I'm glad you are advocating for a good music program. Loved the stone soup, by the way!

Mirien said...

After living in Colorado and North Dakota, we were surprised to come to Utah and find out that the elementary schools didn't have music, art, or PE teachers. The kids only get what their classroom teachers are willing to provide and that varies greatly. I miss those extras. Lucky for my kids I married someone with a masters degree in Vocal Performance. He goes into the kids classrooms and teaches music about once a month. But we don't do nearly as much singing at home as we used to, ever since we started getting the eye rolling and outright complaints from the teenagers. But when they're not around--watch out!

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