Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Practice, practice, practice. Or not so much, if you are Blitzen.  She joined many other NYC 4th graders in the opportunity of a lifetime – a giant recorder concert at Carnegie Hall.  She was very excited, she had been talking about it for months and pretty much never practicing her recorder.

The big day comes and Blitzen falls asleep mid-concert. I kid you not.  How anyone could fall asleep while 300 4th graders screech make beautiful music on the recorder, I cannot imagine.  The little boy next to her tried in vain to wake her up but no luck.

When I asked her about it she said, ‘I didn’t sleep through everything, just the talking parts.’  Ok, apparently there was to be some educational component to this music festival?  Hmmm – maybe more recorders next time, less chitchat.

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Blitzen is teaching a special course at her school again – she is working with the music teacher and teaching a group of 2nd graders how to write songs.  Blitzen is quite the lyricist, by the way.  I am sure that no one is surprised by that.  I can’t wait to hear the future hits this group produces.

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Before Beyoncé, Blitzen attended a concert by Michael Franti and Spearhead.  It was at venue with no seating and 3000 people jockeying for position in front of the stage.  Blitzen was carrying her backpack and a huge tray of cupcakes, and the crowd was stressing her out.  Every time someone bumped her she was furious, sure they did it on purpose.  It reminded me of our first months on the subway together, with every bit of human contact interpreted as an act of aggression.

Twenty minutes into the show Blitzen began to relax.  She knows Michael Franti’s music and began to dance.  She convinced me to give her a piggyback ride and the crowd appreciated her moves.

Soon after, I lost her in the crowd.  I wasn’t too worried — Blitzen is brave and I knew she wouldn’t leave the venue.   A few songs later, I was officially nervous.  I asked a security guard to help locate her, and he radioed his friends to join the search.  I imagined that Blitzen was tearfully searching the crowd for me. Happily, the security guard near me told me that his colleague found Blitzen.  He pointed to a platform next to the stage.  There was Blitzen, dancing with Michael Franti’s guitarist.

Blitzen climbed down and re-joined me.  We enjoyed the rest of the show from the audience, until the encore when Michael Franti invited children to join him onstage.  Blitzen climbed up, suddenly shy again.  A man onstage invited her to dance and she began to loosen up.  Then, in the midst on “Say Hey (I Love You),” Michael spotted Blitzen and invited her to sing with him.  She nailed it, as you can hear above. When the show ended, Michael gave her a hug; on the way out fans wanted to give her high fives and tell her how wonderful she was and how happy her singing and dancing made them.

When we told our friends and family about the incident and showed the video, they didn’t seem too surprised.  Of course Blitzen would begin a new experience fearful and angry and wind up onstage, singing solo, charming the crowd.

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We took Blitzen and Dancer to the Beyonce concert. They had a wonderful time.

And oh my gosh – who knew that there was someone who had more costume changes in a day than Blitzen?!?

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Our little Blitzen loves to sing and dance and she loves a musical.  We got a little sick of High School Musical and Teen Beach Movie and so we introduced her to Grease.  She loved it and eagerly asked if there was another ‘episode’.  Grease 2 coming right up.  Now the child is running around in a faux leather jacket (it 85 degrees!) and wants to change her wardrobe from its current pallet of pink, purple and turquoise to all black AND she really wants a biker for a boyfriend. Um……….speechless.


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Blitzen loves to incorporate a good song lyric into her everyday conversation.  Taylor Swift, in particular, seems to strike the right note with Blitzen.  I guess they have similar philosophies although Blitzen is quite confused by Taylor’s revolving door of boyfriends.  We talk about that a lot.  Almost every new Taylor Swift hit results in a conversation something like this:

Blitzen says, “Taylor has a new boyfriend?!?”

Me or Andrew, “No, I think this is song is just about breaking up with the old boyfriend.”

Blitzen, “Wait, what is she singing about?”

Me or Andrew reply that it is whatever teenage angsty issue Taylor is belting out.

Blitzen reflects, “She sure has a lot of different boyfriends!”

Anyway, this morning as I was leaving for work (a little earlier than usual) and Blitzen thought about getting upset and cranky, she decided to serenade me with the lyrics from Stay Stay Stay instead.

This kid really couldn’t get any cuter.

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Apparently Blitzen has been singing quite a bit a school.  Cosmically, I think this is good – she is happy and comfortable.  I think we may need to work on the volume a bit though.  Might not be the best thing to be belting out Beyonce in the middle of class.

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Blitzen has a very poetic soul.  She is really one of the most creative kids that I’ve met.  She loves to write a song.  She made this one up last night and sang it me before bed:

You Can Follow Your Own Heart

You can live on what you see

You can follow your own heart

Don’t let nobody take over you

Just follow your own heart

You can be somewhere else

Or you can follow me around

But I won’t chase you

You can follow your own heart



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What’s She Singing About?

I love pop music.  Give me two chords and a catchy hook burrowing into my brain and you’ve got me.

It turns out that my musical taste tracks perfectly with that of nine year-old girls.  Much to Carrie’s chagrin, Blitzen and I can play the same songs on repeat for hours.

The first couple times Blitzen hears a new song, she listens carefully and asks,  “What’s she singing about?”  We’ve had thoughtful discussions about the meanings of song lyrics by Miley Cyrus, Beyonce, Sara Bareilles, RihannaDemi Lovato.  Blitzen hears the emotion, confidence and passion of these singers and wants to crack their code.

When Blitzen hears the first few notes of a song she likes, she gets excited.  “This is my song right here!”  She frequently walks around the house singing lyrics that articulate her emotions.  A recent favorite (from a mermaid movie of course) goes “I feel connected, protected… connected inside.”

This month, Blitzen, like most Americans, is singing “Call Me Maybe.”  Unlike most Americans, Blitzen can’t sing it without crying.  She was weeping in the shower trying to get the words out.  As she explained afterward, “H (beloved eight-year-old niece) and I sang this song every day in Arizona.  It was our song.  I miss H so much.”

Golly Blitzen uses words well to express her feelings.  Seaweed makes her anxious, leaving people you love is difficult, Carrie understands her best.   When Blitzen sings and cries in the shower with emotion-filled pop songs yet to be written, she’ll know exactly what she’s singing about.  I’m especially excited about the words she’ll write herself.

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No Ordinary Girl

Blitzen spends her Choice Time watching favorite, comforting mermaid scenes on repeat, inviting them to burrow into a grove in her consciousness.

The mermaid movie d’jour is Aquamarine.  The scene on repeat is (spoiler alert) the climax.  Two human teenagers dive into the ocean to save a mermaid being pulled back to sea by her family.

Mermaid: “You girls aren’t safe in the sea!  The storm is too strong!”

Humans: “Why is your dad pulling you back now?  Can’t you stay here forever?”

Mermaid:  “I’m a mermaid.  I have a family out there who needs me.  As much as I want to stay, I belong in the ocean.”

The song Blitzen is listening to and singing is “No Ordinary Girl.”

“I’ve got a special power
that I’m not afraid to use
Every waking hour
I discover something new

I’m no ordinary girl
I’m from the deep blue underworld
Land or sea, I’ve got the power
If I just believe”

On Saturday and Sunday Blitzen puts on her flippers at the YMCA pool and practices swimming like a mermaid, developing her power, trying to believe.

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