"Songs are what I listen to, almost to the exclusion of everything else. I don't listen to classical music or jazz very often, and when people ask me what music I like, I find it very difficult to reply, because they usually want names of people, and I can only give them song titles. And mostly all I have to say about these songs is that I love them and want to sing along to them."
-Nick Hornby (Songbook)
"You can't really learn much about a person based on what kind of music they happen to like. As a personality test it doesn't work even half the time."
-Chuck Klosterman (Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs)
I fucking hated taking piano lessons when I was a little kid.
Between the ages of five and eleven, instead of playing baseball with my friends, I was sent to an after-school music academy twice a week for two hours of piano lessons. It was pure torture and I hated every minute of it.
Through forced repetition, I eventually became pretty good. I once performed in a recital at Carnegie Hall. I was the dinner entertainment during my uncle's wedding. And I was accepted into the local neighborhood's All-Star Orchestra.
But my heart was never really in it so eventually my parents allowed me to quit playing piano so I could try other instruments. Since then, I've played trombone, saxophone, acoustic guitar, and harmonica. Want to know what I learned?
I suck at playing instruments.
So now I stick to karaoke. Unfortunately for me, I suck at that also. Unfortunately for anyone around me, I have no shame about singing badly. I'm not only a microphone hog but I've actually got a repertoire of favorite songs that I am not ashamed about singing (everything from The Cure to Bruce Springsteen to Coldplay.) Hell, I've even stood up in front of 50 women bloggers and sang Britney Spears' "Baby, One More Time" with my friend Kristen. I really do have no shame.
Despite my lack of talent, I love music. Heck, let's face it. Who doesn't love music? Even Nietzsche once said, "Without music, life would be a mistake." And that dude was a nihilistic atheist!
To understand the extent that music is organically ingrained in the human spirit, you only have to spend some time with a bunch of little kids. I love watching kids react to music. It's hilarious to see what makes them get up and start shaking their butts.
Ever since she was born, I've played all kinds of different music to the Peanut to see what really moves her. I love putting on a song for her and getting her opinion. Some of her favorites are Smashing Pumpkins, Depeche Mode, and Oasis. When we really want to go crazy and dance around in the living room, we put on some Duran Duran or old-school De La Soul.
I try not to push my musical influences on her. For me, it's really more about exposing her to everything and letting her decide for herself what she likes. For example, these days, the Peanut is strangely into country music. When American Idol recently featured Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis, my little 4-year-old New York City girl couldn't get enough of it. She was completely mesmerized. Naturally, she now wants an acoustic guitar for Christmas.
I told her to just stay cool and I'd talk to Santa about it.
Anyway, this whole post is really just an excuse to introduce some amazing videos of some awesome kids playing music. Check these kids out. I can't stop watching them over and over.
This first video is Korean sensation Sungha Jung. In the video, he's eleven years old. His dad is a classically trained guitarist and started working with Sungha when he was only nine years old. Here he is performing Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower."
Lucchy, short for Lucciano Pizzichini, came straight from Buenos Aires to Miami at 11 months, and now, at the tender age of seven, jams at music festivals around the world. The kid is even sponsored by Gibson Guitars. Here he is perfoming a Santana song. If you look closely, you can see a SpongeBob SquarePants sticker on his guitar.
This last one is my absolute favorite. Joe is a young Canadian drummer who began playing in May of 2008. He was 3.5 years old. He has had no lessons and has learned to play entirely by watching drummers on YouTube. He plays at least an hour a day. The kid rocks the sticks like a young Neil Peart. Here he is rocking The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again." Unfortunately, there's no way to embed the video but here's the link.
How amazing is that? I discovered it via BossLady today and I think I've watched it 50 times already.
Anyway, summer's around the corner and, as always, I'm looking for some new music. In the past, you guys have turned me onto some great new stuff that I never would have found on my own. So let's hear what's rocking YOUR ipod these days.
Give me some good stuff!