Sunday, September 14, 2008

Listen to the Music

Over a year ago, a car company put out a commercial showing an engineer testing the gear shifts on several versions of a new vehicle. During the commercial, the engineer noticed the pitch of the engine changed with each shift. He smiles, starts shifting gears in rhythm, and the engines play the opening guitar riff from “Smoke on the Water.” I have no idea what car they were advertising. (I’m sure it was mentioned in the ad.)

What I do know is that the commercial made an impression on my younger son, Christopher. When it came on, Christopher would start humming (grunting) trying to imitate the music: dun dun DUN, dun dun DA-DUN, dun dun DUN, dun dun. Over and over again, he would mimic it, dancing around and doing his best air guitar routine. I love the song, so I tried to teach him some of the lyrics. He got as far as singing “SMOKE…on the WA-TER” before going back to imitating the sounds. It was his new favorite song.

This isn’t the first hard rock song Christopher has liked. He loves Miracle, the movie about the U.S. hockey team winning gold at Lake Placid in 1980. However, his favorite part of the movie is the closing montage, which features Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” He would ask us to replay the closing credits so he could hear it. Also, there are times in the car when I’m changing stations. Christopher will say, “Go back, Daddy, I want to hear that song.” Usually, it’s either Aerosmith or The Rolling Stones. I have CDs of both groups, but I’ve yet to let him listen, as I am afraid I might have to explain the lyrics.

My older son, Andrew, has the musical tastes I would expect for kids his age. When Andrew’s in the car, he wants me to tune in the Disney station on my satellite radio so he can hear The Jonas Brothers. Andrew also sings Hannah Montana songs. Christopher, though, prefers “heavier” sounds. My wife accuses me of instigating it, saying that I push it on Christopher because its music I like. I don’t agree, but I do admit to having used “Smoke on the Water to get his attention. (Admittedly, the recent father-son duet last night at the grocery store was probably a bit much.)

Because of Christopher’s music tastes, I was concerned when the new superhero movie Iron Man opened in May. Both kids love these types of films. I had originally planned to take Andrew, as he is old enough (age 11) to understand what words are inappropriate for him to use. However, Christopher is six and the movie is too violent for him. Plus, he tends to act out movies at home and I don’t want to give him ideas. Still, since someone showed Christopher the trailers on the Net (ok, it was me), I felt like I had no option but to take him.

The violence, though, was only part of it. What scared me more was the theme song. I knew Christopher would pick it up instantly. I could deal with him liking Deep Purple, Aerosmith, and the Stones, but I wasn’t ready for a six-year old walking around the house and humming Black Sabbath. Now, that he’s seen it, he does his air guitar routine with even more flair than he showed on “Smoke on the Water.”

Anybody know where I can get a Deep Purple or a Black Sabbath t-shirt in a youth medium?

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