My just turned four year old daughter is crying in the bathroom singing “my mom is so mean…I’m so mad at her…” And as much as I don’t like hearing songs about how mean I am…(even if it’s for not letting her eat chocolate for breakfast), I can’t help but laugh and smile, firstly because of how silly the situation is, and secondly, because it seems like she has the “songwriting gene” after all. This is a gene that seems to run in our family that compels you to instinctively put your feelings to lyrics and melody as soon as you feel them. I didn’t teach her to do this. My son who is older, (though ridiculously in tune with instrumental music) doesn’t seem to have this same inclination or “gene.” This is why I think it is so interesting. It seems to just naturally be a part of her, just like it’s naturally a part of me. Something in our DNA, leads us to process the world in this way. The same way someone else naturally might want to take objects apart only to put them back together to understand how they work…for my daughter and for myself, we have the natural habit of turning what we are experiencing into song long before we can put together the conscious thought of, “I should make this into a song.”
It’s not as unique perhaps as some forms of synesthesia (like hearing in color, or tasting and sensing geometric shapes), but watching my daughter experience the world in a way similarly to me, brings me a deep sense of connection to her and great joy in recognizing what a gift this has been in my life.
I wrote a song a while back called “Thank you music.” This is a love song that I wrote to the music inside of me and all the happiness and comfort it has given me over the years. In the song I talk about how sometimes I can get caught up in the prestige of what my music can do for me, and how it can make me more successful etc. These thoughts aren’t crazy, as creating music is truly a means by which I bring home money to help support my family. However, the point of the song was taking a moment to recognize the gift that music is in it of itself, whether or not it leads to to any notions of “fortune” or “fame.”
Seeing that same gift come out through my 4 year-old takes me back to this perspective. Kira is not singing songs about how mean I am, because she thinks it will land her a record deal. She does it because it makes sense to her to do it and express her feelings. Because it is fun to make music out of little moments. Because she loves to sing and she loves to talk, so why wouldn’t she be combining the two every single day? This doesn’t mean she has to follow my footsteps and pursue any of this professionally. It does mean that music is likely to follow her all of her life, as an outlet for all of her feelings and hopefully a source of comfort and joy that she can carry with her always.