Gimme a Beat!

I’ve played my kids music since they were born. The first thing my oldest son B heard was the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and that was on his first day on this planet off a little boombox in the hospital room. I couldn’t think of anything better to communicate the beauty this world can hold. That was exactly four and a half years ago and since then there have been a lot more sounds. Yesterday, for instance, we took in Donovan and Fugazi, and both B and G seemed to appreciate them. Baby G ran up to me demanding I hold him and bounce up and down while B did some weird interpretative dance thing.

We also have a lot of instruments lying around the house, including three guitars that  B has shown more and more interest in recently. Lately, he’s had me turn on the electric and situate it on his lap and then he plinks around on the strings while I strum the acoustic. It’s not too musical but I’m glad to see he’s trying to figure out how to use it. We also have a cast-off drum from an actual kit that sits on the floor and both kids like to bang on it, usually drowning out everything else. Again, not too musical, in fact kinda the opposite.

Then yesterday morning something remarkable happened. I was strumming the chords–all of A and E–to Brian Jonestown Massacre’s “Got My Eye on You,” a song we’ve been jamming to the last week or so, when B grabbed a small wooden hammer and suddenly banged out the exact beat–duh-duh…duh–to my strumming pattern. Then he did it again and again and I cheered him on. It was exciting having him driving the beat and being able to do something together like playing music, so much so that we did it again later that afternoon while G slept, unfortunately waking him. I simply handed the 16mo his bottle of water, sat him down in a chair and we went back to bashing out a crude rendition of an already crude song while G looked on in seeming appreciation. Now if we can just get him on keyboards we’ve got a band.


“Baby G, Baby G, Is Getting Some Teeth.” Play It With Me.

I probably spend an hour each day–sometimes more–playing guitar while my now nine-month-old baby bounces along in his Fisher Price jumper. He appears to love it when I pick up the instrument and strum the first chords, in particular the pattern of one progression that is a crude take on the blues. I’ve played it for months and months it seems, but he always picks up on the rudimentary rhythm and bounces in time, occasionally he even sings–or moans–along. I always toy with different words, but this weekend stumbled across a few about G’s just getting some teeth. Any baby’s name would fit where his does, so feel free to adapt it to your own uses, I’ve got no copyright. The tab is below:

(E) Baby G, baby G, is (A) getting (open chord) some (E) teeth.

(E) Finally, finally, may (A) be (open) even (E) three.

That’s it. Play it over and over until you both enter a trance, you’re hoarse and your fingers hurt, and the baby’s about to sleep. It works almost every time.