'Shut that music off!'
Even cool parents have a breaking point when it comes to clashing musical tastes.
It is inevitable – nay, it is natural and right - that adults and children should disagree passionately about music at some point.
I, of course, believed myself to be cooler than that.
My taste, I believed, is too eclectic, too edgy to ever be completely out of synch with a younger generation's. Indeed, I get a little thrill when I realise that I know about a band that someone much younger than me doesn't know about (and should), when I can sing the lyrics from remixes and do the ubiquitous rap verses that now punctuate these remixes, and when I can recognise a voice or sound in a new song and identify them.
Actually, I still believe I’m cool. Allow me my diminishing vanities.
However, I have found the generational wall that separates me musically from my children and I have – I blush to admit – actually banned something from being played near me.
My daughter – like millions of other 8-year-old girls – is rather taken by Justin Bieber. It shames me, but I tell myself that it is a stage, and part of the path of embarrassing music we must all walk to become rock/pop/hip-hop literate.
I tolerated Bieber as a small hurdle on what I believe will be her long and happy yellow-brick-road of music. She does, after all, love the most beautiful hymns from her school and other things I approve of.
But when she happily discovered that the chipmunks (of movie fame)– with their helium-inhaling pipsqueak voices – ‘do’ Justin Bieber songs, and eagerly invited me to watch the videos on YouTube, I declined as politely as I could.
'I can’t. I really. I just. I can’t. I’m sorry, darling. Don’t take it personally.'
When she and her brother watch these videos I break my own computer rules and close the doors and retreat to the garden for a while so that I can shield my sensibilities from the cacophony. I give them ten minutes to actively live out their desire to hear animated rodents covering pretty-boy lollipop hip-hoppy folly, and then yank them away.
But this is not the end of the story. You’ll noticed I have not – even under extreme duress - banned anything yet.
When both children received cellphones that could play music, I asked them please not play cellphone music in the car or anywhere within hearing distance of me as the tinny emptiness of the sound was robbing the music of any inherent potential it had to make me happy.
Then, in an irreversible moment of excitement, my son undid all the tolerance I’d been showing. As a friend of his hopped into our car last week he said: 'Hey, Matt, listen to this!' and hit the play button on the cellphone - to unleash the chipmunks doing Justin Bieber.
'NOOOOOOOO!' I bellowed from the front of the car, completely forgetting we had a guest. The silence was so abrupt I could almost hear the puzzled look on the friend's face from the backseat.
When the friend was gone later, I laid down the law: if that three-pronged auditory assault is ever pointed in my direction again, I will not be held responsible for the damage that will befall their collective CD and phone music collections.
Read more by Karin Schimke
What kind of music would you ban?
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