WITH the opening chorus of “Jellicle Cats” filling in the silent calm of morning, passing palaver over the phone with my grand daughter Musa took more than the usual three minutes.
She was in a bubbly mood, plying phrases as any child would blow bubble after bubble… or babble that should make sense and stir sweetness into a heedful grandfather.
For months, the strains and ditties off “Cats” she had grown familiar to, did passable ballet leaps and passes as she sang along, those were missing. Kids can’t handle a DVD with kid gloves… it must have been her claws or paws that scratched her only copy, a hand-me-down from her old geezer’s collection.
Without her “Cats,” she had to turn to “Phantom of the Opera” and sing “Think of Me.” Or do a gibberish version of “On My Own” from “Les Miserables.”
She was fed a steady diet of U2’s “Joshua Tree” and “Rattle and Hum” plus generous portions of Johann Sebastian Bach concerti when she was still in her mom’s womb… ay, one Albert Einstein was a huge fan of Bach’s.
Ah, young Einstein fared very poorly in academic work that the teacher told his parents to take him out of school and get him a manual labor job as he was “too stupid to learn-- it would be a waste of resources for the school to invest time and energy in his education.”
The parents didn’t give up on their kid. They bought him a violin. The kid turned good at it… and in later years turned up the all-too-familiar E = mc2.
Einstein gives credit for his fiddling for gaining tons of smarts—just like a Thomas Jefferson who would tickle out tunes on his violin whenever he couldn’t turn up apt phrase and prose for the Declaration of Independence… he wrote that.
There’s indeed a fiddler on the roof—“certain types of music such as Mozart's Sonata for Two Piano's in D Major or Bach’s Air on The G String (nope, that doesn’t translate as “utot ng nakabahag”) releases neurons in the brain which help the body to be at ease.”
Other fiddling findings: “Mozart's and baroque music, with a 60 beats per minute beat pattern, activate the left and right brain. Simultaneous left and right brain action revs up learning and retention of information. The information being studied activates the left brain; music activates the right brain. Also, activities which engage both brain hemispheres at the same time-- such as playing an instrument or singing-- max up brain capability for data processing.”
Perhaps, all I wanted was having meaningful chit-chats with my grandchildren… our Oyayi is picking and will likely catch up with Musa’s ear for music… a sensible conversation is a joy.
Light and delight, too.