Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Music Teacher

"Hey Google, play the music from Hamilton."

"Hey Google, play James Taylor."

"Hey Google, play Carly Simon."

I have a sneaking suspicion that this is actually not what would best hold the attention of my granddaughter, not yet four months old, but what do I know? 

My granddaughter's room is filled to overflowing with books appropriate for her tender station. I could read from dawn to dusk of first words, of Dr.Seuss, of ten little fingers and ten little toes on boys and girls around the world, of lions, tigers and bears, of love and kindness for nature, for family, for the pets that share our homes and touch our hearts. 

The two of us joining in the exploration, a wondrous journey through words and pictures that will help to shape a brain ready and eager for knowledge.  

But there are no records here, no record player, nothing to hold or see. My son, at two, could reach into a mountain of albums, locate the cover he wanted, take the record out of the sleeve, place it just so and put the needle down exactly on the song he wanted to hear. Now we have access to an endless universe of music but, as a new grandparent, I desperately need some guidance on what corner of that globe harbors the perfect selections.

Could my granddaughter possibly enjoy listening to what she was being subjected to? I think she has a love of a good beat, for when her uncle commands Google to play something with a compelling rhythm, and then he dances and tambourines or otherwise rattles in time, my granddaughter's face lights up the room. But maybe, or even likely, it is her uncle that is the real cause of her uncompromising joy.

No such response accompanies James Taylor's "Whenever I see your smiling face", even though lyrically it is perfect. Not a hint of interest. Nada. Rien.

I guess I could just ask Google what it thinks is most suitable, but Google doesn't seem to relish lengthy discourse.

Or maybe I could request Google to play "favorite children songs." But that sounds far too generic, too sterile to me. I need to at least have some input in the decision making process. Otherwise, I will have fully ceded my grandparenting responsibilities in this forum to an inanimate object. I will be irrelevant.

 I want to be the best grandparent I can be. But like a first time parent, I have to learn my way around this new planet. It has been a long time since there was something this small in my arms and the world has exploded in the intervening years. Taylor Swift is several generations too new for me and Sesame Street was in its infancy last time I checked in.

 And my listening to NPR, watching MSNBC and reading the New York Times has not exactly prepared me for this new post. So I ask my granddaughter to be patient with me and forgive my trespasses.

 I am an old dog and we all know how hard it is for us to learn new tricks. "Bow wow says the puppy."Or is it ruff ruff? "Hey Google, give me a little help here."

This is definitely going to take some time to master.


Anonymous said...

...And precisely because you care, search, and reach for the right ways and means, because you love her as much as you do and, because you are you, indeed she will deeply love and cherish all of who you are!!


Anonymous said...

This is so,nice and so true.


Anonymous said...

I have urged our generation to be thoughtful with the next generation about not replacing relationships with technology.