Estimated read time : 4 minutes
I was never really a singer. Never in the choir. Never went to any of the school or college competitions nor bring glory for the team I belonged to. I was not a bathroom singer or a karaoke singer (not even after a drink or two).
However, much to the surprise of my close family and friends, ever since I had my daughter, I started singing to her. She responded so well to music.
To soothe her, to put her to bed, to calm her on a flight or when she didn’t want to sit in the car seat, during meal times and any other situation you can think of, they were all made better with a song sung by me. I was truly amazed by what I was able to do and it gave me so much joy to see my girl rapt in attention while I was in action.
Mealtimes were always accompanied by songs with a surprise element like Old Macdonald where a new animal would bring on the giggles. And nap time had songs with lines on loops like Twinkle Twinkle or Bollywood songs like ‘Nani teri morni’. I even made up songs to add her name in them when she was upset.
When Mary Poppins says a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, I believe in our case, it was a song that made the world a little happier. Ever since she turned 4 years of age, songs from the Beatles and Eagles as well as Country songs were her favourite. Then the Oscar musicals like Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, and Mary Poppins took over. When the new children’s movies were released like Frozen, I exposed her to the songs first.
In a rather funny turn of events in our building, she was invited by the Bengali community in the apartment where we stay to sing for the Durga Pujo festival, and then at Tej Pal auditorium. Before I knew it, she had been asked to join the Rabindra Sangeet classes and now has been learning for the last 2 years. She loves her teachers and truly enjoys her time there. No, neither I nor my husband is Bengali, but this just goes to show that music has no language.
As she started growing older, she was exposed to instrumental music and started choosing her music on Pandora in the US and Alexa in Mumbai. Now, memorizing lyrics and breaking into the right song for the apt occasion is her superpower!
Since the last few weeks, (she’s eight years and a bit now) we have been in lock-down. Like everyone else, she is confined to our matchbox home in Mumbai with no face-to-face contact with friends, school, other human beings. However, at most times in the day, if you listen in to the sounds of our home, there will be a crazy little girl singing very loudly or in whisper notes about how she’s feeling or just something she heard and enjoyed. Today she was singing a Spanish song Bella Ciao at the top of her voice.
Also read: Dance And Sing, Mum And Dad
I urge all the parents out there to enjoy music with your little one. I don’t want to recommend the playlist but let the children listen to what their heart tells them. It could be in a regional language, a Christmas carol you love, or anything else. You can even let Alexa or YouTube choose for you.
Sing, dance, tap your feet, clap or do all of the above. I assure you the children will get a twinkle in their eye and you will get a skip in your step and a grin on your face.
Stay safe and sing. It’s good for you.