Name That Tune

12 Dec

letter we 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

This is my dad's dorkism. Not mine.

This is my dad’s dorkism. Not mine.

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.

Howard Shore conducting the LOTR Symphony

Howard Shore conducting the LOTR Symphony

Here’s hoping you all have a very 48 frames/second weekend.

-Dork Dad

7 Responses to “Name That Tune”

  1. Mandy K December 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    So awesome! PS, boys not yet in double digits cannot keep secrets. period. Especially when it is about their heroes. 🙂

    • dorkdad December 12, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

      Conversely, once they’re in their teenage years, you don’t want to know their secrets.


  2. my27stars December 12, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    That’s awesome. There’s nothing I know (not even about knitting or baking) that I know as well as your kids apparently know about film scores. Seriously, kudos. My dad would play the “name this band” game when I was young, but it was only ever like Alice Cooper, Three Dog Night, and R.E.M – yeah, pretty easy distinction between those. I mean, seriously though, your kids will rock at random trivia stuff like I can only dream about! 🙂

    • dorkdad December 12, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

      So the real question is: how do I parlay that skill into an acceptance letter (or 3) into Stanford?

      • my27stars December 12, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

        Who needs Stanford when there’s Jeopardy, truly?

  3. Steve Robinson December 13, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    Amazing skills he has for one so you… a Jedi is he? The next step up the ladder in your trivia gaming sessions is snippets of DIALOG… quotations from key characters in huge films to start with, then quotations from lesser characters in lesser films. If you work it right, by the time they are off to college, they should be capable of reciting the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the entire scripts from a decade of films. Stanford will be BEGGING for their applications!

  4. Jen The Nerd January 31, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Loving your posts! I fondly remember playing the name that tune game with my dad. We had to name Title, Band, Album and Year. Bonus points for critical trivia such as which AC/DC member was singing or where the live concert was recorded. Well done Dork Dad!

Leave a Reply to dorkdad Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: