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Monday, October 8, 2012

Musical Discoveries

I've shared before how music affects my kids.

Abby's such an auditory learner as to make it difficult for her to read until recently when it clicked (and the only "long words" she can spell are those she learned in song, like "Aitch Ay Double-ell Oh Double-you, Double-ee En spells Halloween" to the tune of Danse Macabre).

Lizzy thinks songs in minor keys are by definition sad, so she is unable to cope with - for instance - Greensleeves (What Child is This?) or Sunrise Sunset.

But this weekend Lizzy and I went into The Hubs' considerable collection of mp3s he's bought over the years, to make us a Halloween compilation CD for the car. Some favorites of Abby's (Dead Man's Party, the aforementioned Danse Macabre) and Lizzy's (The Monster Mash, Purple People Eater) along with twelve or so others. These are not (in general) "Halloween songs", but they are all either creepy as to content or in that minor-key way - Bad Moon Rising, Devil Inside, etc.

So when we started in on track six - Ghost Riders in the Sky - and Lizzy said, "It sounds like the pie episode of the Backyahdigans," I looked it up. And sure enough (as you can see if you click on the link) The Backyardigans: Samurai Pie's musical genre is in fact Spaghetti Western. Good catch, kid!

Abby noticed that most of the Halloween songs - at least "the ones with words, mom" - are story songs; they tell a specific story about a given dark and gloomy night or the like. 'Twa Corbies is a good example (although a certain amount of translation had to be looked up) and so is Abby's new-old favorite of The Devil Went Down to Georgia. Now this is a song that her father and I listened to ad nauseum while I was pregnant with her, so I don't know how much of her love of it is prenatal influence. But she really really loves it.

And then we got to the last track on the disc. And although I'm no longer sure Abby has a mild form of dyslexia since her reading improved so much over the summer, she does still have trouble with right and left, much as my mom does. If I can use The Time Warp to teach her right from left in a way she can grok ("It's just a jump to the left, and then a step to the ri-i-i-i-i-ight" and no, we're not doing the responses; get your head out of the gutter), then I will.