I grew up in a house hold that always had music buzzing around. There was either someone playing a record ( you know those big black disk things around since the stone age?), someone (attempting to) play and instrument, or just someone singing a song they had stuck in their head. My brother could watch a Disney movie once and have every single song memorized by the end of it. My dad worked out of town and all my memories of him revolve around music in some manner, when he was home, whether it be dish cloth dew rags, pots and pan band practice to queen albums, or playing guess the song in 10 bars or less. My mom was a painter and at night I remember being all tucked into my bed and hear her classical music playing down the hall while she painted, and my brother and I drifted off to sleep.
Music helped me become who I am in some manner of speaking, because when you are a kid you listen to everything your parents listen to, In my case that was a lot of old school country like Merle Haggard, George Jones and Patsy Cline, which I still listen to, to this day. But when I started school my friends introduced me to what their parents listened to and I loved that just as much as what my parents listened to, and I would ask my mom to buy me albums and CDs until I could get them myself with my baby sitting money. Then came the boy band faze of my life, but I was never ever picky when it came to bands and I bought it all and listened to it all. by 13 I had over 200 cassette tapes and 52 CDs, I still listened to what my parents had as well with A tracks, records and their CDs and Cassettes. There was never anything I didn’t like, and when I went through my rebelling faze I just started listening to Marilyn Manson, Eminem, and other “controversial” artists at the time (Can I hope my kids will do the same?).
To me there was a song to help me through everything, when my first friend committed suicide a country song came out at the same time called “How Do You Get That Lonely” by Blaine Larsen, and that helped me in a way, when my grandpa passed away I found comfort in his favorite song, “Long Black Train” by Josh Turner.
This is my last point on the songs, but I went through a time at 16/17 years old where I fell into a bad crowd forgot who I was and just wanted me accepted by everyone instead of enjoying being who I was as an individual, I got into some drugs and while I was getting myself out of that deep hole a friend from Vancouver gave me an EP, by a band Called Marianas Trench and they helped me find me again, and I thank those guys every time I see them. I have had the honor of meeting them and getting to know them. I see them as my friends in a way because of how they had helped me, and I wanted to help them, I learned what I could about street teams and the music industry (the bare bones of it anyways) and tried to help them make a mark in the Canadian music front, along the way I gained great friends and lost some friends, but it all shaped who I am today and who I want to me for my son.
When I got pregnant, I played music to my belly and sang songs to my baby all the time. I wanted music to be a profound part of my child’s life like it had been for me. Then scary things happened and I went into labour 16 weeks early. I didn’t know how to handle anything with myself of my son by that point. I didn’t know how to make him comfortable or myself for that matter, because my normal means of comfort couldn’t help a preemie baby…. Or could it?
I did some massive digging and found music therapy was found to be very beneficial to pre-term babies. But all the studies I had read were done with classical music, I do like classical music but we were not going to be listening to that all the time at home, when he did come home. So I bought an i pod mini loaded it with music I loved, music Hubby loved and music that our parents loved, which is what I had been playing for him since I found out he was growing in my tummy. I told the nurses to play it when he was really stressed out and see what happens when Hubby and I would go home for the night. (Who am I kidding Hubby Dragged me out of there to try and get some sleep.) We would come back to find that the music had calmed him down and he was showing signs of major improvement over the course of our stay. At one point in the middle of the night there were 3 nurses attending to a baby across from my son and all of sudden they heard this music being played and they could not figure out where it was coming from, they walk closer to DJs isolette and it is his ipod that he somehow turned all the way up. I remember the nurse telling me it was “Shake Tramp” by Marianas Trench, because she was a fan of them as well and we had bonded over that early on.
Now that we are out of the NICU and at home, music is still a big part of his day, whether it be our dance parties in the living room, that the mail man loves to laugh and wave every time he sees, or the singing and band time he has with my dad who is passing more memories of music down to my children like he did with myself and my brother.
I once read a quote that describes who I am in a very big way:
I Believe In Music, The Way Some People Believe In Fairy Tales.
I am now passing on that love to my son and passing along they music therapy ideas to other moms I have met in the NICU, I hope it is as useful and up lifting for them as it was for me.