Driving “One Direction” to Music Hell!

I was 28 years old when my first child was born. I always thought of myself s a pretty “youthful”  parent when they were growing, up and hopefully my big girls will concur now that they’re 21 and 23, but who knows. They may all think I’m old and out of touch even as I try to stay current on things that matter to them. Music is a big part of all of our lives evidenced by the cacophony of sounds in our home coming from the three youngest kids who play violin, cello, trombone, saxophone, and trumpet. They all love to sing, hence music fills our house from canned sources and their creations constantly! Due to their influence and exposure, I do know and enjoy many of the current top artists, and join them in singing/harmonizing to songs that please me!

I drive my 13-yr. old daughter to school most mornings, and on that 20 minute drive, barely awake myself, I’ve given up on the control of the sound waves and let her surf the stations for the songs she likes the best. I like to please my kids, but there are definitely limits that I hit when it comes to music.

For some brief background, I need to go back to my own childhood, riding in the car with my mother. My mom, as I may have mentioned in a previous post, was a musician who not only directed instrumental groups, musical theater and various choirs since she was a teenager, but played piano and sang soprano with esteemed groups like the Tanglewood Chorus and the Boston Pop’s Chorus. She taught piano out of our home most days and directed the adult and children’s choirs at our church. She was what I’d call a “pitch snob” as well, contorting her face and discretely (sometimes not so much), plugging her ears when sounds did not resonate well with her, and, she discriminated against (translation=shut it off!) most music that wasn’t musically pleasant to her ears.

When I rode in the car with her, we mainly listened to classical music, or opera. As one of her 4 children, I rarely had the opportunity to switch the radio station and if there were even pre-set buttons in our car, I never had the opportunity to learn how to use them. The airwaves were hers and we just had to learn to deal with it! Luckily, since I was a musician as well, I could deal with it most of the time, but I NEVER learned to like opera no matter how much I heard it!

As a young child, we had a reel-to-reel tape recorder that my dad used to tape every single church service or concert that my mom was ever in. We 4 kids each had our own small tape that we could record on, which we did, ad nauseam. We recorded songs, acted out plays and musical performances on a multitude of instruments as well as every conceivable conversation or fight that we found interesting. I distinctly remember at around the age of 10, playing my Sears “light-up drum set” while singing The Partridge Family’s “I Think I love You” with my younger sister Rachael while I banged away! Music was a giant part of our lives as it is for my own kids. (This is a real picture of my drum set from the Sears Catalog of 1969!)

As a teenager, I did my best to sway her to music that was at least of the same century, and had some limited success when she took up folk guitar in the 1970’s. Simon and Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell,The Mama’s and the Papa’s, and James Taylor made the cut, but she had a distinct dislike for bands like The Who, The Doors, and Iron Butterfly (In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was one of my older sister’s favorite albums!). She tolerated some of the quieter Beatles songs probably because they had good harmonies, but with most of the other music she would wrinkle up her nose in disgust.

I’m not going to generalize like my mother did and say that all pop music is crap. I like lots of musicians, like Bruno Mars, Adele, Carrie Underwood, lady GaGa, Maroon 5, Coldplay, The Black-eyed Peas, Train, Rhianna, and have been known to listen to some Eminem and other rap music. I like singable, non-offensive, and music that I can harmonize to. If it has a good message, even better. If it has no message, but a nice tune and instrumentals, that’s fine with me too.

Back to my conversation in the car with my own child and my now tortured life…it’s all about One Direction these days. I can deal with the 32 One Direction posters taped to the walls of her room (only because we still need to paint the walls a new color), and I really don’t care what she listens to on her headphones or in her room, but I-can-not-tolerate-their-music! I think the clincher for me was when I saw them perform on Saturday Night Live last season and their lack of musicality mixed with their really poor dancing made dislike turn to intolerance.

After plugging her mp3/phone into my car stereo connection, she turned on a new song I’d never heard before. I gave it an excruciating 2 miles before I just couldn’t take it any longer. I don’t know if my mother’s spirit was lurking in my car or what, but the words that came out were definitely channeled through me from her!

“I just don’t know how you can listen to that stuff? There’s no musicality to it at all! Don’t they sing about anything else besides how beautiful she is, what he wants to do to her, how he needs her, wants her, loves the flip of her hair! Why is all of the music these days about living for the moment? Like there isn’t a future or something? Isn’t there any music that you like which doesn’t rage adolescent hormones ? I didn’t have to go through this with your two older sisters-at least they had good taste in music!”

In an instant I realized that I had turned into my mother!!!

Sorry mom. Now I understand.

While I’m at it mom, thanks for tolerating my Partridge Family music playing incessantly and my loud drumming on my cheap drum set. I really appreciate that now!

And remember that tiny microphone I found in Dad’s workroom and hooked up to my violin to make it electronic? Thanks for letting me make so much noise!

Oh yeah, and in sixth grade when I was learning to play the french horn, I know it was pretty loud and obnoxious in the beginning, but thanks for sticking it out with me. I haven’t exactly found that patience yet for your granddaughter’s trombone, but I’m sure she’ll get better soon!

My bass guitar? Well, that was just cool and fun, but in all fairness, I left that at school for the most part.

Until I had my own gaggle of noisemakers, I just had no idea how excruciating it could be! And yes, I do know that when they’re gone, I’ll be complaining that it’s too quiet!

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Undecided Voters?

Halloween is over and Election day is right around the corner…five more days until we will hopefully know if it’s time to scream with joy or cry and get into bed and hunker down for the next 4 years!

I see the polls. I hear the pundits talking, but I’m sick and tired of all of this jockeying and just want it to to be decided so I/we/the country, can move on with our lives.

When I hear about the undecided voters, I can’t help but wonder if they are really paying attention. If a woman is undecided, I would have to ask if she has all of her marbles. Barack Obama is the only choice who cares about a woman’s rights!

I was surfing through my facebook feed yesterday and I came upon this video of Donna the Deer Lady.  I have to say that my curiosity was piqued by this silly headline, and as I listened, I was certain that it was someone punking the radio hosts, but I was wrong. What I heard, was a fairly intelligent woman complaining about the overuse of  “Deer Crossing” signs on busy highways and their obvious results which lead to more deer crossing in those spots due to the signs!

This woman was serious and wanted her concern to be taken seriously. “Please, can’t someone take them down so that we don’t have so many deer crossing on busy highways?”  Certainly, there are less populated places for deer to cross in small towns and at already designated crosswalks, she implied! Holy crap! Is she a shining example of  the undecided voter?

I also saw a quick clip yesterday of a four-year old girl who was crying about the election. Her mother video-taped her sobbing, saying that she was crying about  “Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney,” as she was upset about the plethora of mentions of the election. Even she is done with all of this craziness! Anyway, I had a vision that  it would have been great if someone could have showcased all of the nasty things that have been said towards Obama from the GOP campaign through the eyes of children, maybe using play dough like Saturday Night Live used to do with Mr. Bill. If kids wrote the scripts, we’d see just how clearly Mitt Romney has been lying and bullying and using millions of dollars to buy this election. Kids know when they’re being lied to and they know when things aren’t fair, and adults could use a good dose of that non sugar-coated reality!

Here’s hoping that next wednesday I’ll be able to get out of bed!

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