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Abby: My Little Music Snob - Karen's Musings
Random Rambling
Abby: My Little Music Snob

PICT0196-1 So we've all heard the debates about nature vs. nurture and we all have our own opinions about them.  Some people believe that everything is totally ingrained and nothing we do on the nurturing side can change nature's ingrained tendencies.  Some people believe that nothing is written in stone and nurturing is absolutely 100% responsible for the way people turn out in life.  Clearly, most of the time, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  But I am learning that there are definitely some things that are honestly just programmed into our code from the very beginning. 

Take my Abby, for example.  She's my little music snob.  She hasn't had time to have had this ingrained through the nurturing process.  But she comes by it honestly.  I was  a flutist for 15 years and also played oboe for 8 years.  I majored in music in college until I had an injury in my junior year that kept me from finishing my last several performance credits for the degree (I do have a minor in music, but fat lot of good that does me).  I studied under some of the best musicians in the world and had some fantastic opportunities to tour with orchestras in the US and Europe.  I always expected music to be an integral part of my life and I'm shocked to discover that it's not nearly as much in the forefront of my daily life as I expected it to be. 

Back to Abby - that was all just background.

A couple weeks ago, as the babies were finishing up dinner, I put on Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony.  If you know Tchaikovsky at all, you know that he wrote a lot of ballet, and much of what he wrote that ISN'T ballet still lends itself to ballet.  Now, I am clearly no ballerina.  But my kids were in their high chairs looking amused, and Tchaikovsky was floating out of the CD player and there was this big, wide open space in the living room/dining room, so I started pirouetting around and doing really bad arabesques.  Sam and Ellie clapped and smiled, but Abby - oh Abby was cracking up.   I mean, seriously, she was totally CRACKING UP.  She could not stop giggling and laughing and reaching out toward me.  She was completely, totally CRACKING UP.  It's so funny, because she's normally so serious, so watching her crack up was so amusing to me.

I didn't think much of it, because I figured that she was just laughing at her crazy mama making a fool out of herself in the living room, right?    The next day, the babies were playing with toys on the living room floor, and I put the same CD back in and Abby immediately smiled and looked up at me.  I started pirouetting around again, and she started CRACKING UP!  The fun didn't last long, though, because I was getting ready to change their diapers and put them down for a nap.  Seth wandered upstairs and noticed the music on and said, "Oh no!  Did I miss pirouettes AGAIN?"  No way am I ever going to let anyone else ever see me doing pirouettes, not even my husband.  He'd probably fall over laughing.  So I scooped Abby up into my arms and started spinning around with her with the music still on.  Once again, she started cracking up, laughing hysterically.  When I stopped spinning she looked around at the world like it was a new and fascinating place. 

Still, I didn't think much of it, because what kid WOULDN'T love to be scooped up into mommy's arms and spun around for some fun?

Later in the week, my mom was over and I wanted to show her how Abby cracks up when you spin her around, so I scooped her up and spun her around.  She smiled.  And she let out one tiny chuckle.  But no cracking up.  I was completely perplexed.  I tried again.  Still, nothing.  Just a smile.  No cracking up.  How could this be?  How could my daughter be sitting there in my arms purposely making a liar out of me?

And then I realized how quiet it was in the house.  Could that be the problem?  Could my daughter be so discerning that she wanted the music on?  Nah.  Couldn't be.   But, just in case, I turned Tchaikovsky back on, and sure enough, Abby grinned immediately, and as soon as I started spinning her around, she CRACKED UP.

Interestingly, Abby does not respond nearly so strongly to Mozart, Brahms, Moussorgsky, Beethoven, Bach, Prokofiev or Rachmaninoff.  But Ellie totally digs Rachmaninoff - more than anything else.  Isn't it neat that they both have a favorite?  Ellie gets up and dances for Rachmaninoff.  Sam dances for all of it.  He's just a dancing fool.

I love it.

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25 comments or Leave a comment
ichur72 From: ichur72 Date: November 26th, 2008 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)

I've seen this with my kids, FWIW. My daughter adores music, has from the beginning. Whenever I sing to her, she visibly, palpably relaxes (or at least tones down the kvetching). My son, not so much. I don't know how much of it might be tone-deafness inherited from Walt and how much might be an auditory-processing issue (which his OT evaluator picked up on). Whatever the case, though, he is mostly indifferent to singing unless it's something like "Itsy-Bitsy Spider" with lots of hand motions. (No dancing, just hand motions. He's picky like that.)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 26th, 2008 06:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Probably your son can't handle some of the sensory input from the visual processing of the dancing - and yes, the auditory processing probably plays a role as well.
cleobatya From: cleobatya Date: November 26th, 2008 05:56 am (UTC) (Link)
great post. and awesome picture!
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 26th, 2008 06:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
glad you approve!
journeytoernie From: journeytoernie Date: November 26th, 2008 12:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
that is so fun! i woudln'tt let anyone see me doing "ghetto ballet" either!
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 26th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
yeah, no. I look like a floundering hippo when I'm doing it, but it amuses Abby, so that's all that matters.
journeytoernie From: journeytoernie Date: November 27th, 2008 12:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
ha! i just had that image of fantasia....
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 28th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
just try not to picture me in a tutu
journeytoernie From: journeytoernie Date: November 28th, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
i dont picture people in general in a tutu :p
jeannegrrl From: jeannegrrl Date: November 26th, 2008 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
That rocks the house.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 26th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know! How cool!
xiphias From: xiphias Date: November 26th, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
What do they think of Pachabel's Canon in D? 'Cause, when I was a little kid, that was my favorite piece of music EVER. Well, that and Vivaldi. And, y'know, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (which, I guess, technically, is Mozart), and Itsy Bitsy Spider. And show tunes. And the Beatles. And Janis Joplin. And randomly banging on the piano and hitting pots with spoons.

Actually, there was a fair bit of music going on at our house when I was growing up, come to think of it. . . .
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 26th, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've never played any Pachelbel for them, but I could try. Probably it would soothe them, but they probably wouldn't rock out to it. But Vivaldi! Thanks for the reminder! Ooh! I've also got some really wonderful Monteverdi that I bet Ellie would love!

I just told Seth the other day that we needed some Beatles albums for the babies and he said, no, we just need one: Love. Hardee, har, har.
mrn613 From: mrn613 Date: November 26th, 2008 05:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I didn't know you were a musician!

I 100% agree that music can be nature not nurture. My son is ver musical and is becoming a talented pianist even though we never play classical music in the house. i wish I could post a video of him playing... he's never seen a video of Liberace but that's what he looks like when he is playing. Priceless!

On the other hand, his piano teacher has told me his two sisters are not talented and she won't consider giving them lessons.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 26th, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah - I'm not anymore, but I really thought I would be. Probably best that I didn't end up a musician, because I ended up shomer shabbos instead. A symphony career doesn't exactly jive with a shomer shabbos lifestyle.

Neat about your son! I want to start Julian with piano lessons, but I'm just not sure he can focus enough.
mrn613 From: mrn613 Date: November 26th, 2008 07:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
my son has add inattentive type and he doesn't really practice well. the teacher says to suggest he play each ditty five times instead of asking him to play for five minutes. And leave the keys open so he can approach it if he wants. He practices only about 15 minutes a week, tops. I figure he is only going to be a keyboardist in a shomer shabbos wedding band so that's okay.
batya_d From: batya_d Date: November 28th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I also did not know you were a musician :)

I love that your daughters have such finely attuned ears, and good taste, to boot-- great post! I love Tchaik 4.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 28th, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not anymore, but I was. I'd planned on being one...

If you'd told me 15 years ago that I'd end up an IT Security Analyst, a frum Jew, and married with 4 kids, I probably would have run screaming. The married with 4 kids would have been a pretty cool thought (though if you'd mentioned the triplets part, I might have passed out, but who wouldn't?). But the rest of it? Totally wouldn't have jived with my view of the world.

I love that the girls respond so beautifully to music - Sam does too, but he isn't so picky about it!
hipstamom From: hipstamom Date: November 26th, 2008 08:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is interesting because TP has sensory issues. When he was a baby he was more physical and would get upset when I played my music or sang to him. As a toddler he loved low-key music that was barely audible: ie Billy Joel; jazz; classical.

Now he's expanded his music tastes to include punk; 80s music; and thankfully Pet Shop Boys ;)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 26th, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh. It's interesting what different kids find appealing in music.
hipstamom From: hipstamom Date: November 27th, 2008 02:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I think TP is open to most kinds of music in general so that's a good thing!

It's interesting watching kids tastes change and evolve!
From: atimesif Date: December 1st, 2008 02:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Lately my kids ONLY want Uncle Moishie. We're going nuts.

"Don't wanna kinderlach singing lala. Wanna Uncle Moishie!"
"Don't wanna scary man (Marvelous Midos Machine). Wanna Uncle Moishie!"

Some classical music would be nice for a change!
I'm glad your kids like it!
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: December 1st, 2008 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, there's only so much Uncle Moishie I can take! I'm so sorry!
From: atimesif Date: December 1st, 2008 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)

BTW - How are you feeling?

Did your vision clear up? Did your migraines ease up over the weekend?
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: December 1st, 2008 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: BTW - How are you feeling?

B"H, I'm feeling much better now - I had a long week of bad migraines, but no more bad vision experiences like the one I had before - I get a lot of auras, but never ones like that one where my entire field of vision is obscured. That wasn't any fun at all! :-/

Thanks for asking!
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