I did something special today. I helped my child to listen to classical music. At least i’d like to think so.
Classical music is boring to children because it’s too complex and lack of repeated rhythm. And you don’t know what it means exactly as there’s no lyric to go with it. It’s difficult for adult too, so i chose the ones i’m most familiar with.
She sat on my lap and i explained to her what this man and this woman (Parle moi de ma mere) are talking with each other. She was surprised why they make so funny faces since it’s an opera. But then it’s not a problem any more for her. They are in fact singing in French, and i myself understand nothing what they’re speaking. But it doesn’t matter of course. I made up a conversation which fits their facial expression and their mood. And their singing just do the rest to make the story realistic and convincing. I believe if you have a story to follow, and nonverbal messages then even a child will find the way to adhere those meanings to the music she’s hearing which otherwise would sound just meaningless to her. And in turn, she will learn gradually to find the story and the emotions and messages from the music and voice alone.
We danced together with Gavotte, to make her attentive to the rhythm of the music, as when to make small steps and when to make big heavy steps, when to waves arms or to move legs to fit with the melody. And it’s of course fun and fit better for small kids who always love to move their bodies.
We listened to Cello suit number 1 (Bach Prelude), it was boring for her, as it’s without any plot, any character, or conversation. I tried to visualized for her what state of mind or movement the music is depicting, but it’s rather difficult for her.
The best of all, is the Concerto de Aranjuez. I imagined a story, rather like a movie with a lot of detailed scenes that the music is depicting, flowers are growing and blooming, trees and animals. Something which is familiar enough that she has an experience with and can relate to. The second part is about a dead squirrel which we found and buried in our garden. She almost burst into tear. The music was tragic and the stories was sad. Luckily there was dotted with less gloomy music chunks when i could improvise a bit happier explanation for the story.
In all, she withstood 2/3 of the concerto, which was similar to me when i heard it last time. And she was curious what came next in my story. I suppose it needs a long rest to digest classical music, which means we will not listen to them with so big attention, concentration and effort in very near future. But I hope such frequent sessions should keep her way from lady Gaga.