Over the year’s there’s a lot of research into the effects of music on developing infants. The majority of it says the same thing: music is good but certain types of music is better. The premise of the “certain kinds of music” mostly pits “top 40” popular music of the particular study’s generation against a limited sample of “classical” music which is a microsampling of very specific orchestral composer’s selected works that have become the norm.
Despite being proven by studies at MIT and in Sweden that the “classical cannon” for these studies is not necessarily representative of the effects of “a broader range” of music from those eras and many studies saying both particular pop artists (such as the Beatles) and a number of non-pop modern subgenres (such as metal) defy the assumed “classic music is king” preference the default approach to youth exposure to music is pretty narrow.
Not in this house though.
In this house, we listen to almost everything. Not only because my wife and I have some exceptionally divergent tastes that ofset some of our more intriguing conjoined loves, but because both of us despite the stereotypes of our age are far from being set in our musical ways like most of our theoretical peers (because of who we are, our actual peer groups are not representative of the actual averages for their ages either).
As I may have noted before I am working from home as often as I can to have the opportunity to bond with the infant padawan along with supporting my wife in her transition into the unique responsibilities of breast-fed motherhood and strengthen further our marital relationship. So, in a couple of hour block while my wife was catching a nap and I was between conference calls and other project obligations I had the padawan in my arms while working.
In the background I had one of the “mixes” I created as prep for the radio show more affectionately known as the “nerd” mix. It isn’t about finding songs for the show as much as it is about creating inspiration for show themes.
This particular one contains artists like Rush, Yes, Dream Theater, Opeth, Mastodon, Anacrusis as well as peculiarly like Voivod, Tourniquet, Deleterious, Mike Patton and, of course, Primus.
And, that last one is of the greatest note.
Generally, the music was what it was when the padawan joined me and most of the time if it wasn’t resonant with them I just turned it off and went to other means for satiating them.
In this case, the music on seemed to really run hot and cold as they lay there with whatever I had on originally but I’d call it mostly fidgety.
I was moving into a part of my day i’d blocked off for work that I found not only unchallenging but mostly tedious. My default when trying to offset something that causes stress is to listen to stupid complex music. I’ve discussed this before on the blog but this was the first real opportunity to benchmark something about musical consumption. So I tuned into the mix not long after padawan joined me.
Not only did the prog-tallic stuff help relax the padawan compared to the other stuff but to add a bit of humor to it padawan had some amazing “in-sleep” responses to Primus and more in particular to “John the Fisherman”
To me this stands out for a tonne of reasons.
First, the earlier music was the bullshit most people say you “should” play for “kids” and it did nothing so fuck that noise. It might have worked for your kid but apparently mine is already superior, or, I’m sorry what you’ll call “different” despite their superiority. All the research is in my favor. And, so is the story of my own life and that of my direct references and I know my friend circle is more sucessful than the average.
Secondly, despite the hip chant of Primus sucks the genius of it being a Primus song validates my long term desire to do my first halloween with the kid as a Primus theme – and most fun, the song playing that calmed down padawan (not the first time it’s been the song but the most notable) is doing “John the Fisherman” which I mentioned before.
Long ago, I used to dress up as a woman because I made a damned good woman. Of the last roles I played, I was wynona from “wynona’s big brown beaver” based on the video. After a decade of being a woman character that transition brought me into what I call the Primus error … which included a bad version of “Jerry” as a race car driver, a DMV worker, “the guy” who goes over the falls (in an old fashioned barrel) and our first year upstate I dressed as Alowishus Devadander Abercrombie which is long for mud, or so I’ve been told.
There’s a secretive hope to create John where the padawan is the prized fish not only because it completes the sequence but almost as much so because Padawan seemed to really love the song itself.
How do I know, well, they rocked themselves to sleep to that song when all other songs elicited no response the first time and when it came on again what my wife and I affectionately know from them as “jazz hands” popped up in time at very song specific points on second listen (because my ipod is insane and only knows how to shuffle six songs).