My house is never quiet. Looking back, I can point the finger of blame squarely at Avril Lavigne.
It was the summer of 2003 and Dan and I had just purchased Lavigne's first album, by then about a year old. We packed Avril up along with our collection of preschoolers and toddlers and drove them across the Prairies to visit the grandparents. We heard a lot from Avril on that drive as we had only taken about 15 CDs for the 38-hour round-trip. By the time we got to Swift Current on the way back, we were desperately trying to find a radio station that would fill the silence. The CD player in our van had declared an embargo on anything it had played more than 17 times in the previous two weeks.
Later that year, I heard Ben plunking around on the little battery-operated piano he had received for Christmas. I said, "Hey, that tune sounds familiar - what is it?"
"Avril Lavigne," he said. "Number four on her CD."
Thus began our career with Ben on the Party Circuit. "OK, now Ben, play that Chantal Kreviazuk song for the nice lady!" You might think we were getting carried away, but we were only reacting to our shock at this family development. Any musical talent our kids might have is surreptitious, or at least curious in its origin - Dan and I both have a healthy smattering of very talented relatives in that regard, but neither of us share their company on that list.
Let me be clear: we weren't the kind of parents to ensure that our children listened to classical music in utero, nor did we thrust "Baby Mozart" CDs at them in the hopes of developing them musically. Rather, our kids were fed a steady diet of what some might call musical junk-food: lots of pop, alternative and rock...basically what we listened to. (Cue the collective cringe of music teachers the world over.) I recall vividly when, at the tender age of four, Ben earnestly told Dan's aunt that he liked to listen to Sting's Ten Summoner's Tales, and that his favourite song on that CD was "the one where Sting loses his face".*
At the time of Ben's Eureka moment, I may have harboured notions of concert halls for my three-year-old. But I resisted the urge to become the Mrs. Lindros of the piano world and decided instead to start asking around about music lessons. After a couple of years of Orff Music for Ben, I enrolled him and Nicholas in piano lessons, and did the same for Jacob a few years later.
The boys brought what they learned and we brought our piano from Canada, and they continue to take lessons here. In the last week, both Nick and Ben performed in talent shows at the Middle School and the Upper Elementary School, respectively. Nick played "Surf Board" by N & R Faber, and Ben played his own arrangement of the theme from the movie Inception. Click on the links below to see the video clips of their performances:
Nick - ASD's Got Talent 2011
Ben - Upper Elementary Talent Show 2011
Thanks, Avril. I owe you one.
*If I Ever Lose My Faith in You, Sting, 1993