Kids’ Music

There are a number of subjects about which we don’t exactly share our kids’ opinions when we become our parents… um, I mean, when we become parents.

Take music, for example.

Not long ago, we received an email from my daughter’s favourite clothing store…a store that, incidentally, provides yet another example of how our opinions can differ.

At a glance, I saw that the message line was announcing an upcoming concert. I noticed that “Jon” was part of the performer’s name, and fleetingly thought it odd that this store for girls was publicizing a Jon bon Jovi concert.

When my daughter realized the email was for her, she eagerly read the same contents of the message line that I had read seconds before, and lunged for the phone; apparently, she couldn’t wait to tell her friend that Jon Bon Jovi was going to be performing at a venue nearby. My mind tried to reconcile her excited reaction with this news of a band that was big during my younger years – and I really couldn’t imagine my daughter having any interest in at all.

Then, it all made sense when she exclaimed into the phone, “Laura, Laura! The Jonas Brothers are going to play a concert!”  I couldn’t help but laugh as I realized how very different my perception of the “Jon” was from my daughter’s.

For Elena’s ninth birthday party, we took a gaggle of girls to the theatre to see the Hannah Montana movie with a special appearance by the Jonas Brothers.

I asked a friend my own age to accompany me, and on the pretence of helping out with the party, she kindly agreed to join us.

As this was our first time hearing the Jonas Brothers, my middle-aged friend and I were somewhat dumbfounded. I gather that they are nice kids, but…those nasally voices!  I’ll never forget the look on my friend’s face – and suspect mine mirrored hers – a squint, more likely to have resulted from tasting something unexpectedly and unbearably sour.

The girls on the other hand were on the edge of their seats, unable to sit still. Their expressive facial exchanges where not of disbelief, but rather of delight, that brightly shone through their wide eyed glances and huge grins.

When it comes to other aspects of music, my relationship with my 12-year-old son is somewhat unpredictable. Once when he was listening to his ear phones and uninhibitedly belting out the lyrics to a Doors song, I was startled to realize that he not only knew the song, but all the words.  I was quite certain that he hadn’t heard it on his favourite radio station that, when played at the right volume, can alter my mood – and not in a good way – for an entire day.

As I pulled out one of his ear pieces to inquire about this, he automatically and defensively said, “It’s not too loud, Mom, really.”

I ignored him, and asked how he knew the song he was singing.

As if I should have known, he informed me that he “plays” it on Guitar Hero…which wasn’t that surprising, because the songs on that particular game do go back a ways… and if that gives him an alternative to what he sometimes listens to, then that’s OK with me.

Because of the past, I can sing almost all the words to Nick’s Guitar Hero game, and because of the present, to almost all Miley Cyrus songs. But when I do, the kids have a look on their faces more likely to have resulted from tasting something unexpectedly and unbearably sour…

Originally published in the Waterloo Region Record