Friday, July 29, 2022

Songs my parents sang when I was a child and the first music I recall hearing / The power of music in the lives of children

My mother sang, "Go to sleepy, little baby ..."  Her mother must have sung that song to her.  I don't remember my mother singing anything except that song.

My father sang only the choruses to songs he would have heard as a child and teenager, "Barney Google, with the goo-goo-googly eyes ..." and "Come Josephine in my flying machine and away we'll go, away we'll go ..."  Both of these songs annoyed my mother, but they made me smile.

(My mother's name was Josephine.)

Every time I asked my father if he would buy me a horse, he would sing these words, "When your hair has turned to silver, I will buy a horse for you." My father would have heard that song when he was in high school.


Besides those four songs, I don't recall any singing in our home.  I must have heard hymns and organ or piano music from ages 2 to 3 at church but have no clear memory of music as an important part of my early life until my father bought our family a television in 1953 or 1954 when I was 3 or 4 years old.  

I went to YouTube to find the music and songs that I remember hearing on television and in Disney movies, which were the only movies we were allowed to see.

Then there was Elvis Presley:

Listen for Flight of the Bumble Bee, by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov:

Much of the instrumental and vocal music I remember came from Walt Disney TV shows and Walt Disney movies, notably "Fantasia."

There was nothing that captured my attention and inspired awe more than hearing Mahalia Jackson for the first time as I was playing quietly in our living room and heard her distinctive voice.  I was moved by the sound of her voice in a way I had not been moved before by any singing I had heard previously but did not hear her voice again for many years.

From age 6 on, I listened to rock and roll on the radio and on television with a passion.  I was unable to carry a tune but did my best to sing along with other children during music time at school.  I was not chosen to be in glee clubs when I tried out at two different times and I gave up on singing.  I scored so low on musical instrument aptitude tests that they gave me rhythm sticks and then they found that I couldn't keep the beat.

Still I loved the music on the radio, finding it a necessary and positive part of my life.


I am curious to know what part music played in the early lives of others in this blogging community.  

What is the first music you remember hearing?  Was music important to your parents?  Were there music instruments in your home?


NewRobin13 said...

Music was absolutely central to my life when I was growing up. My parents loved to dance and we had music on almost all the time. They loved Broadway show tunes. They loved the big band era music. They even loved when we played and danced around to the 1950s music, like "At The Hop." Then came the Beatles, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, etc. Music music music was everywhere all the time at my house. My sibs and tried to play instruments when we were young... saxophone, piano, violin, etc. We never got very far with any of it. But music is absolutely still a part of our lives.

ellen abbott said...

There was no music in my house growing. My parents had a phonograph and some albums, some classical I think. They had Bolero as I recall and maybe the soundtrack to South Pacific but I don't remember ever really hearing any music. The only thing I remember my father putting on was a Bill Cosby comedy album. And I guess he would listen to country music in his car because I remember him telling us about some of the crazy song titles. Anyway, wasn't until junior high that I started listening to music on the radio. Kids either listened to pop or country. I gravitated to rock and roll rather than folk.

Sabine said...

There was no "popular" or modern music in my childhood home. My parents listened to classical music only. When I was small, I loved it and would listen with my father on a Sunday morning when he put on his records. My favourite was and still is Smetana's The Moldau and I still follow the story of the river from its source past fields and the farmer's wedding and through the night and flowing on through Prague. And when I was on a school trip to Prague in 1976, Iron Curtain times, I stood with my school friends and various tourists on Charles Bridge, looking down into the river humming the theme melody.
There are tons of videos on youtube, like this one: