In the ongoing nature-nurture discussion, Aurora has once again made it clear that she is her own person, not impressed by my careful and steadfast encouragement of musical interests. For almost two years now, we’ve been attending a weekly music class at various community centres near our house, taught by the inimitable Barbara Duncan. I love it, and look forward to it every week. Barbara gears the songs, rhymes, and fingerplays to the various age groups she teaches. Most of the kids seem to love it, and they jump up with glee to grab musical instruments (primarily percussion) for making a happy cacophany.
Most of the kids, that is, except Aurora. Some parts she really enjoys, like the insect number countdown (you jump up and grab a plastic bug from the line when Barbara calls your name), the caterpillar puppet who turns into a butterfly, and “Monkey See, Monkey Do.” Other parts of class annoy the heck out of her, like when Barbara pulls out the guitar and all the kids are able to cut lose with their drums, triangles, bells, and maracas. She really doesn’t like “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom,” either. I had various excuses and rationalizations for Aurora’s negative, fussy behaviour during some parts of the class, like shyness, unwillingness to perform in front of others, and so on. I still thought she was getting something out of it, though.
Then three weeks ago, after another temper tantrum halfway through class, she finally let me have it in language I could understand. “I don’t like it, Mommy. It’s TOO LOUD!” Well, okay then. I didn’t want to just skip the last two weeks of class, particularly because Aurora seems to mostly enjoy the first half of it, so I talked to Barbara about it. She kindly offered to extend the puppet and finger play part of the class and soften the music (and hold back the drums) for the last two classes of the session. Aurora managed to hold on until the end.
Music is such an important part of my life, and so integral to my daily happiness, that it’s going to be a real challenge to find a way to compromise with someone who covers my mouth when I sing (and has since she was a baby), and complains when I turn on the radio that she “doesn’t like that song,” whether it’s Classical, Rock, Folk, or Showtunes. I really had no idea that this sort of thing was genetic. I thought that if I introduced music, and plenty of it, from a very young age, that she would take to it like a fish to water. I’m not complaining, I’m just surprised. I guess it makes me appreciate even more the good luck I have in having a child who loves to read, playact, tell jokes and stories, make art, and build things. She’s a wonder, and I love her, but she is definitely her own person.