Maybelle and music

The other day, Maybelle's physical therapist made a comment about Maybelle's favorite music.  Maybelle loves music.  We listen to it a lot around the house, and it's been an integral part of virtually all of her physical therapy, motivating her to do things that are difficult or not fun.  So Suzanne--M's PT--has heard quite a few of Maybelle's favorite songs, and she's noted that they aren't generally songs she herself knows at all.  The other day she commented that we might want to teach Maybelle a few songs that the other kids will know, as preparation for preschool.

I thought about it.  Maybelle does listen to a lot of kids' music, but some of it is kind of obscure.  One of her very favorites is "Jelly Man Kelly," a truly fabulous song from 1970s Sesame Street that she's learning to sing along with (this video with the kids makes her ecstatically excited).

She loves bluegrass of all kinds and will perk up when the banjo comes on the stereo.  She also listens to a bunch of Dan Zanes, who's the musician king of vaguely funky middle-class kids with educated parents. "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," "Jelly Man Kelly," and Dan Zanes' version of "Down in the Valley" are unlikely to be part of circle time at Trinity Montessori.

Then yesterday, in the morning, as I was getting her breakfast ready, one of her very favorite songs of all came on the stereo:  Roger Miller's "Dang Me."  This is a song that includes such kid-inappropriate verses as,

Just sittin round drinkin with the rest of the guys,
Six rounds bought, and I bought five.
Spent the groceries and half the rent.
Lack fourteen dollars having twenty-seven cents.
Although it's kid-inappropriate, Miller is such a clever musician that we were compelled to put his music into Maybelle's iPod playlist.  She loves it.  During the chorus, as he's singing, "Ought to take the rope and hang me, high from the highest tree" Maybelle gleefully made the sign for "tree."

That was the point at which I decided Suzanne might be right about us broadening Maybelle's repertoire.


Dani said...

When one of my kids was a baby, the best song to soothe him by (ok, the ONLY song he'd be soothed by) was the murder ballad "Delia" by Johnny Cash. As he got bigger, he learned the lyrics, much to our mixed amusement and horror. :)

emboogie said...

I should send Maybelle some CDs in the mail since the one I made her before did not work. I have an abundance of kid's music that I always love sharing. Some kids music you both would probably really enjoy too. A few classics in there probably. I remember your address - ill send it to ya. I love that Maybelle is so interested in Music.

Glad to have the blog to keep up with you all now that I have moved : ) If you are ever in Orlando give me a call!


Kenneth said...

A friend told me of being at the supermarket and pushing a cart full of kids, all of them belting out a song I wrote for my old country band the Junkers: "Let's Commit Adultery." She loved it.

Sarah said...

And let us not forget the five year old on the plane home with me over Christmas, who when asked to stop singing "Pollywolly Doodle" started in with "You Give Love a Bad Name" in its stead.

Mel said...

Eh - preschool song time is the time to learn those standard kids' songs, she won't care that she doesn't know then in advance. Garin never learned any of them at home (oh, wait, he may have learned a couple during visits from my mom). But there's no need to learn songs at home that annoy the parents; enjoy the time when she doesn't sing annoying stuff, she'll learn it soon enough from her peers. BTW - we recommend Yo Gabba Gabba as a good source of music (and other fun). Garin's current favorite is "Pool Party" by the AquaBats which he belts out (with dance moves) at any possible opportunity.

Maria Jackson said...

My Dad LOVES James Taylor (and kids), so, having never heard that song before, he got a big kick out of that video. He looked it up, and apparently James Taylor's then 5 year old daughter wrote it as a school assignment. Thought it added a bit more of cuteness to an already very cute song :)

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Love this post, Alison! When my son (who has autism) was in early intervention, the only way we could get him to cooperate during his first few sessions was if we played George Harrison's "Brainwashed." He had no way of knowing the meaning, but he always laughed during the line in Pisces Fish about "Canadian geese crap along the bank." After a few times, our therapist suggested the same thing about more apropos children's music.

(BTW, thanks for the comments on the blog and the FB links. I have a full "official" review of your book up - the others were just snippets - so feel free to replace the FB posts with the latest. Or not. Thanks so much again for the shout-out.) - M.

Keith said...

"Dang me" was also one of my favorite songs when I was a little kid, much to my mother's chagrin.

Deandra said...

("Dang me" is still one of my favorite songs.) Barring songs that would teach Maybelle words that would cause her friends to get their mouths washed out with soap, I'd say learning "appropriate" kid songs is over-rated. It's so much more fun to let them love what we love than to listen to another round of "5 little ducks." (Though I have officially banned Jeremy from teaching them any more Todd Snyder drinking songs.) There are some creative, interesting singer songwriters who write kids' music out there, too, though, and can offer a nice compromise -- just heard an NPR interview with one of our kids' favorites, Justin Roberts, lately. It ain't Roger Miller, but it's thoughtful...

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