e are undeniably influenced in innumerable ways by our parents and their own sensibilities. When we were kids, at bath time, my dad would sit down with his banjo and play for us all his favorite music from his childhood. In his day folk music was huge, so we grew up with, for our generation at least, a better than average knowledge of Jim Croce, The Tokens and The Kingston Trio. I’ll bet there aren’t too many people in the world younger than 40 who can sing
all the lyrics to “Tom Dooley,” “Tijuana Jail” and “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” (all on vinyl by the way) For better or worse, my Dad’s love of folk music imprinted on us, and even as adults my sisters and I all have “The Kingston Trio’s Greatest Hits” in our iTunes library (as well as an inexplicable understanding of short sleeved, pinstriped shirts paired with high-water pants).
Fast forward a generation and the exact same scenario is playing out in my own household. In my youth I loved 80’s glam rock and film scores, and since I’m usually the one in charge of the MP3 library at home, those genres are already leaving their indelible mark on my own kids. Episode V in particular will ask for Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Journey by name (so proud). But in my life (and in our house) it’s the film scores that trump everything. John Williams. James Horner. Bernard Herrmann. Danny Elfman. Hans Zimmer. Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Carl Stalling. Howard Shore. This is the musical talent that I geek out to and by extension, at least for the time being, so do my kids.
On occasion we like to play a little game at home. Similar to the oldschool “Name That Tune”, I get Episodes IV and V around the computer and I play a musical track, usually from a movie, that they should recognize. The two take turns trying to identify the music, and see how fast they can get it right. For something that must sound incredibly lame to you readers, the game is surprisingly effective at keeping my kids entertained.
“Beauty And The Beast!” “How To Train A Dragon!” “Star Wars!” “Looney Tunes!” “That Fantasia one with Mickey and the wizard!”
Episode V is freakishly good at this game. While his big sister can pretty well call the music from movies she’s seen, in just a few notes Episode V can identify music from movies he has never seen, and only knows because one time he asked me what it was from and I told him. “Batman!” (Tim Burton) “Batman again!” (Christopher Nolan) “Back To The Future!” “Star Trek!” “Indiana Jones!” “James Bond!” At 4 years old this kid has no idea who the heck Indiana Jones or James Bond, but he can sure identify the music with just a few stanzas. It’s freakish, savant-level stuff. Cool, but freakish.
Anyway, this morning as we were all getting ready to head off to work/school I had Pandora playing on my iPhone in my shirt pocket. The kids were guessing the music while they were getting their clothes on. “Batman!” says Episode V.
“No son, that’s to a movie called ‘Gladiator.’ I don’t think you’ve heard that one before.”
“Oh. But it’s by the same person who made the ‘Batman’ music.”
I stared at him, my mouth agape. “Yes. Yes it is, son. Good job. Wow.” (Hans Zimmer by the way)
Howard Shore’s score to “The Lord of the Rings” cycled next through Pandora, and both my kids got it right away. No, they haven’t seen those movies yet either. Remember the rule. Then we got to talking about how the new “Grown-up Hobbit” movie is about to come out, more or less on DorkDaddy’s birthday. Awash in the youthful, exuberant dorkiness of the moment, talking about the new “Grown-up Hobbit” movie and DorkDaddy’s impending birthday, Episode V blurts out “Mommy and I bought the grown-up Hobbit…”
“Gaaaaaaargh!!” came the urgent voice of UnDorkMommy from the other room, cutting off Episode V in mid-sentence. “That’s supposed to be a secret!”
“Oops,” said Episode V, putting his hands over his mouth to mask the sheepish smile of someone who knows a secret. “Sorry, Mommy.”
There are two morals to this story:
1) If you want to share your inner dork with your kids, there’s no better way than to do it through music.
2) If you went out and bought the special edition score to a certain movie that is opening more or less on your DorkHusband’s birthday, who happens to be a huge fan of film scores and is well aware of the exact date that certain soundtrack is available for purchase, it’s probably best not to let your 4 year old in on the secret.
Here’s hoping you all have a very 48 frames/second weekend.