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Kicking Open Doors with Rhythm

When Dan and I got married, we each had about 150 CDs and not a single one in common. The only two artists we had in common were Beethoven and Frank Sinatra. Other than that, he was all jazz and classical and I was all over the map, with a strong pop/rock bias. In some ways this has been great. We’ve introduced each other to all different kinds of music. But to be honest, we each mostly stick to what we know.

I thought our kids would be super well-rounded musically, being open to all kinds of things -- and for the most part they are -- but they spend most of their time with me and my MP3 player, so they’re already finding their musical niches. Laylee loves Gwen Stefani and 80’s music and Magoo is all about classic rock, taking a dip into the 80s.

I can guess whether either or both of them will take to a song before I ever play it. If it’s Journey, Boston, Jimmy Hendrix, or Bon Jovi, Magoo will be all over it. He’s developed a set of fearsome dance moves with a tight-set jaw, squinty eyes, crinkled nose, and hands always in fists. When we listen to Journey’s "Separate Ways," he must begin the routine by kicking a door open. That’s just the way the song starts as far as he’s concerned. Thank heavens for door stops.

Today I cleaned the bathrooms with that song on repeat while Magoo entertained me with his moves. He’d say, “Don’t turn around and look at me unless you wanna see something really cool!” as though it were a warning, like perhaps his moves were too fresh for my eyes to behold. They were amazing, but never once did I faint from the brilliance of them.

Laylee’s more fluid in her movements with periodic Elaine Benes-like flailing limbs. She dances to "Eye of the Tiger," "YMCA," "Hollaback Girl" and pretty much any 80s dance tunes.

Like me, although they can ask for specific ABBA and Bob Marley songs by name, they identify most jazz music simply as “jazz music” with no particular idea who the artist is. I’m a little better at this than them, periodically pointing out a specific musician when Dan’s listening just to show him I’ve been paying attention. But he’s definitely got his work cut out for him if he wants to make a significant impact on their quickly-solidifying musical tastes.

Although it may be too late. Tell me -- how can lyric-less instrumental music compete with “So many times / it happens too fast. / You trade your passion for GLORY!” or “Get up. Stand up / Stand up FOR your rights.”?

I think the man’s got a hard row to hoe if he wants to sell them on songs with which you can’t even sing along while kicking open doors and pumping your fists. Nobody ever kicked open a door or did moves so cool you might not want to look at them while listening to Dave Brubeck or Wynton Marsalis -- and that really makes them kind of a hard sell to the discerning young music fan.