This evening, my son laid his infant daughter in her bassinette for a brief nap. He activated the baby monitor, pushed a button on the bassinette to engage it’s calliope-sounding nap-music, and came downstairs. The baby monitor sat on the coffee-table and we attended to it as if it were an oracle which was about to make a momentous pronouncement.
The ersatz Chopin serenade that played for us, inerrupted by chirping sounds from my grand-daughter, reminded me of elevator music. This saddened me immensely for some reason. This young infant so loves the sound of someone singing to her. And, shouldn’t she be exposed from the earliest age to the best of music that is available, both as vocal or instrumental rather than generic pap that passes as music?
As an infant, my son used to visibly relax in my arms when we, together, listened to a recording of Mozart’s “Concerto for Flute and Harp”. He would turn his head away from eye-contact with me and gaze abstractedly into the distance before his eyelids slowly drooped. The “Barcarolle” from The Tales of Hoffman, always a favourite of mine, would lull him to sleep whenever it was played.
For my grand-daughter, I am plotting to play the “Jersey Girl” cut from Holly Cole and “Don’t Go to Strangers, Come on Home to Me” sung so languidly by Etta James, the very next time I have her here at my house. “Bocca Bella”, a flirtatious song from a Cecilia Bartolli album will make fine wake-up-from-nap music, as will “I hear Music” as sung by Ella Fitzgerald.
A ritual of listening to music, of all sorts, is something I hope to establish and share with this grand-daughter. Maybe as she grows and develops, she will share her musical finds with me, as well. I am hopeful…