I’ve learned how to do many things throughout the course of my life. Many are helpful and useful in every day situations. However, many are rather trivial and do nothing but clog up my cranial hard drive with things like the “On Fire All Game” and “Dunk From Anywhere” cheat codes for NBA Jam and the correct path through the final castle in the original Super Mario Bros.
And while many of things that I have learned along my 31 year journey I have actively pursued to know, many things I have learned by either doing it over and over or it has been repeated in one form or another around me over and over. And one of those things that I do over and over is listen to music. And as I might put a playlist on shuffle or even an artist’s entire library, I have found that there are things that I have actually learned from the titles of songs that I listen to every day in my oversized headphones of solitude.
For example, I’ve learned that the first cut is the deepest from Sheryl Crowe, so now I only use plastic knives when I’m eating steak. I also learned that every rose has its thorn from Bret Michaels and Poison, so I always use gloves when I’m pruning. Life lessons, history’s mysteries, wrapped up in a catchy song title.
But there really are things that certain song titles can teach your kid about learning to play an instrument. Some of these your kid may have never heard before, some of them you may have never heard before. Either way, the lessons in the lyrics are as timeless as Greg Brady”s wardrobe. Here are a four of those lessons:
1. “Man in the Mirror” – Michael Jackson
If your kid is going to learn to play an instrument, at some point he’s going to have to say, “…that’s why I’m starting with me.” He might have to change his calendar around, stop watching television so much or spending so much time on his phone, but if he really wants to learn how to play an instrument, he needs to look in the mirror and tell that guy to get to work.
2. “Tomorrow’s Another Day” – MxPx
Not every day is going to be a breakthrough kind of day. There are going to be days, maybe even weeks where things aren’t clicking and it seems like improvement will never come. It’s during these times where your kid can be encouraged by the fact that no matter how bad today was, tomorrows another day to work hard and get better.
3. “The Climb” – Miley Cyrus
Regardless of how you feel about her as a person, there are few songs that outline the struggle of learning to play an instrument like this one. With lines like, “It ain’t about how fast I get there/Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side”, this song shows the process of what it takes to truly learn an instrument. It’s not about taking a few days or becoming an expert overnight. It’s about taking it one day at a time and working harder every day to improve as a musician.
4. “Make Your Own Kind of Music” – Cass Elliot
As your kid learns to play his instrument, he will have a tendency to try to be like other people and even copy how other people play and dress because he’s unsure of who he wants to be. As a musician, teach your kid that it’s okay to be himself, to strive to be an original, and remind him to, “Make your own kind of music/sing your own special song/Make your own kind of music/Even if nobody else sings along.”
Whether it’s a song lyric or a song title, a movie clip or a television commercial, take the time to use media and the things that your kid might be into or interested in to teach him some lessons about learning to play an instrument. You never know which lesson from a song lyric or song title might be the one to catapult him into the great wide open.
What is another song lyric or song title that you can think of that could offer a lesson about life?
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