My daughters and I have been listening to movie soundtracks in the car as we drive around town for errands or to and from swimming lessons. It all started in March, when my youngest turned four, and for her birthday, I got her the Frozen soundtrack. We listened to it over and over and over until we had it memorized. (And until I fell in love with Santino Fontana’s voice.) Then, I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to listen to some others? Wouldn’t it be fun to pass on some of the other memories I have of wonderful music to my children?
I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before. After all, I am a musician. I do blast random songs from my iPod in the mornings when we are all getting ready for the day. I do sit down and play through the classical music I learned as a child on the piano and attempt to learn new pieces. I do practice for church performances and accompanying all the time, and my children see me play the organ at church every few Sundays.
However, that doesn’t seem like enough. I wanted our musical experiences together to be purposeful. So I started buying soundtracks and playing them in the car. It turned into us singing together and memorizing an awful lot of show tunes.
After Frozen, we listened to The Sound of Music, since I bought that one while I was in Austria. It was a natural choice. And now I’m in love with Julie Andrews’s voice. I don’t think there’s anybody better than her.
Then we worked our way through Mary Poppins. It also seemed natural, since I recently saw Saving Mr. Banks and Mary Poppins seems to be having a bit of a revival. I’ve even got my daughter reading the books, which I’ve never done!
After that, I raided my CD collection (yes, I still have one) and pulled out some of the music I thought my children should be exposed to. Not all of it came from soundtracks. We listened to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Love Songs,” a collection of hits from his many musicals, including, of course, The Phantom of the Opera and Evita. We enjoyed Harry Connick Junior’s album “Songs I Heard,” which is a compilation of jazzy versions of hit musical songs from my childhood and his. There’s toe-tapping versions of The Sound of Music hits along with selections from Mary Poppins. There are also versions of “Over the Rainbow,” “Oompa Loompa,” and “Golden Ticket.” I’m thinking about getting the full soundtracks of The Wizard of Oz and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder. (Thanks to my sister and brother-in-law for buying this album for us several years ago.) We also listened to The Beach Boys’ “Endless Summer.” They loved this one because it is familiar to them through the music on one of the rides at our local theme park.
We have currently moved onto a bit of Gospel music, with selections from the soundtracks of Sister Act and Sister Act 2. This music makes me want to learn more about Gospel music and to listen to much much more of it. Our denomination tends to rely on Protestant hymns for worship, and we don’t do any clapping or shouting for joy at church. I could use a little of that within my own home, however!
And we are well on our way to memorizing Annie. Belting out “Tomorrow” is an irresistible thing, and I may start doing it anywhere and everywhere.
I hope to also listen to The Little Mermaid, Les Miserables, and The Lion King with my girls. I’m thinking that the music of The Beatles and Michael Jackson may also be mandatory for my children. I’ve also got CDs called “Opera Goes to the Movies” and “Classics Go to the Movies” so those will likely end up being play in my car as well.
What soundtracks and/or music do you love most? What should we listen to next?