Ever since I can remember music was a part of my life. My mother told me a story that she would put me to bed in my crib, and at two years old she could hear me humming the Mary Tyler Moore theme song to myself as I fell asleep. She had it on low in the living room, but I could hear everything apparently! From there, I went on to singing Ukrainian folk songs with my Mom, Furlan (my Dad’s Northern Italian dialect) folk songs with my Dad, children’s songs and eventually, when I was older, pop songs from my parents vast record collection, the radio and my own records. I didn’t get a microphone till I was in my early teens (a toy one), so as a child I would use a deodorant stick and pretend I was singing to my adoring audiences as I belted out songs at the top of my lungs staring at myself in my mirror! I had and still do have, a pretty good voice. I can carry a tune well, and only have to hear a song once or twice to remember all the lyrics. I went on to sing in school and church choirs, and eventually to take piano and flute lessons. Music is in me, and has always made me feel truly alive, as I’m sure it does for most people. My parents always had the radio on in our house, my Dad particularly, and my Mom sang at church and encouraged my musical interest in choirs and music lessons.
Michael inherited this love of music. Like me, he has a photographic memory for remembering melodies and lyrics, or maybe I’m like him. Hmmm. 🙂 By the time he was four years old and fully verbal, he had memorized most of the children’s songs and lyrics, so much so, that his ABA therapist at the time removed the music program from his list of subjects to learn. “He knows more songs than me. We’ll focus on teaching him something he doesn’t know. ” She and the supervisor were blown away by his musical knowledge, and told me they’d never seen that in any child, on or off the spectrum. Well, as a Mom I felt some pride in having passed on that particular gene, though obviously knowing I had no control over it. 🙂 To this day, he is musical. As I talked about in previous blogs, he loves to tinker with piano, guitar, harmonica, accordion, and singing. His latest venture is singing pop songs out loud that he has heard from the radio. Sometimes I don’t recognize the tune as adult song lyrics are harder for him to mimic (I make sure they are not racy songs), but eventually within a minute or too I pick up the tune. We have started doing duets together. When he lets me join him, it is so much fun! I am bonding with him in a whole new way, and music, as I mentioned before, has that healing effect on both of us.
Are you musical with your kids Moms? Do you like to sing, play instruments, or even attend musical shows? For some of our kids there is the sensory backlash of all of it, but there is so much evidence pointing to the benefits of musical therapy for our kids brains, language development and state of mind. Then there is the sheer joy of melody, the flow of words that go with it. Musical soothes the stress in all of us. With summer coming , there will be so many musical festivals coming. Get out there with your kids. It’s a fun experience. Choose the smaller ones outside for kids overwhelmed by sound and people, and maybe invest in a pair of headphones if the input gets too much. You and your child will learn so much from spending time in and around music. It will open you both up to new growth experiences. Until next time.