My husband and I both played instruments growing up, so we sort of assumed that musical ability and interest was deeply embedded in our genes. It wasn’t a matter of whether our son played in a band; it was a matter of which instrument—or instrumentS!—he would choose.
Imagine my surprise when, by age 2, he would scream “MAMAAAAA!” to get me to stop singing kid-song-classics like “The Wheels on the Bus.” Dude did not seem to like music (or my singing).
We were so excited for his first preschool holiday concert where he and all his little 3-year-old buddies would sing and dance in unison(ish). Except that all his buddies sang and dance while my son stood looking half-bored and half-miserable. He once fidgeted so much during a school concert that he nearly fell off the top riser.
By first grade, he was excited to go to school four out of the five days a week. On the fifth day—music class day—he’d walk into school slowly, shoulders slumped, knowing that “boooooring music” loomed in his future.
I’d all but given up that he would ever really love to create music until I stumbled upon the Chrome Music Lab. Kids can experiment with music in all sorts of different ways, playing around with chords, arpeggios, sound waves, harmonies and melodies. My son immediately got down to business “writing” his own song, which looks like this and sounds surprisingly catchy:
Then he moved on to the rhythm section, where he spent some time directing cute animals to bang on drums, bongos and cowbells.
And finally, he ended with the voice spinner, in which you can record your own voice and then speed it up, slow it down or play it backwards in a way that is endlessly hilarious to an 8-year-old.
My personal favourite—which I’ve been playing around with for, ahem, the past half hour—is the Kandinsky experiment where you can make original drawings that are turned into sound. (I drew a circle and it even added eyes for me!) You hit “play” and the lines turn into notes that sound like a mini song.
When I finally told my son that enough was enough and I needed my laptop back to do actual work, he groaned and said, “But I’m having so much fun!”
Maybe he likes music after all.