Music was an integral part of our lives growing up. Unfortunately in our house, to be defined as “music” it had to be composed no later than the 19th century, and even that was borderline modern. On any given evening or Sunday you could be sure to be bathed in the sounds of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Strauss, (for obvious reasons, Papa's preference leaned towards the German and Austrian composers.) But unless you valued your very life, you would never attempt to contaminate the airwaves with the likes of the Beatles or even Simon and Garfunkel, never mind something more edgy like the Rolling Stones. “That’s not music! It’s NOISE!” And the offending LP was removed from the Hi Fi. Clearly, this put a child growing up in the 70’s at a great social disadvantage.
Our morning ride to school with Papa featured WGBH’s Morning Pro Musica with the King of Pause, Robert J. Lurtsema. By the age of ten, I could tell the difference between a Mozart piano sonata and the Brandenberg Concertos. I could differentiate between a clarinet and an oboe; a trumpet and a French horn, but ask me who was made the top 10 on the Billboard Charts, or who Casey Kasem was, and you’d be met with a blank stare. I remember sitting at lunch in second or third grade, when classmates were discussing their favorite singers. I wracked my brain for someone still living and pathetically came up with Andy Williams (no joke, must have been right after his Christmas special.)
So here’s one thing I promised myself as a parent, I would do differently. I would NEVER refer to my children’s musical choices as Noise. I would expose them to the music of my own generation, while also embracing the music of theirs. The result? We survived the Raffi/Disney years; cruised through A-Teens and Jonas Brothers; could all sing along at the Plain White T’s concert a few years ago, and even swap iTunes downloads like Dixie Chicks, Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas… you get the idea.