My father came to visit this past weekend, and in the grand tradition of grandparent spoiling, he arrived with presents for the kids. Not just any presents, but the kind that grandparents buy for their grandchildren, the kind that we parents would probably let collect dust on the toy store shelf forever based on the potential annoyance factor alone. But, like many grandparents, my dad wants the kids to think he’s the coolest grandpa ever, so he brought them what he thought would ensure that status.
And he nailed it.
Owen and Sasha are now the proud owners of the MiJam Guitar, a mini “pseudo” electric guitar that simulates the sounds of heavy metal, rock, blues, and bass. There are no strings, just knobs to adjust pitch and tempo, buttons on the neck to “play” chords, and a “strumming” bar on the fret board. True to his four-year-old leanings toward all that is fast and crazy, Owen likes to keep the style on heavy metal. And true to her loyalty to her big brother, Sasha grooves to every note and noise that Owen plays. This 22-inch piece of red and black plastic has transformed my kids into a jammin’ rock star and little head-banging groupie.
Here’s what’s interesting: I kind of love it. Not just because the rapid, charged sounds emitted from the MiJam remind me of my days as a Def Leppard devotee (I actually owned a purple and white checkered hat covered with Joe Elliot buttons). Not just because it melts my heart to see my kids have a blast together. I love it because I get to see their curiosity and imaginations take flight, watch them develop an interest in a new instrument (pseudo or not), and relish in their ever-growing love of music.
While it might sound like Owen could be on his way to bringing Glam Metal back in style (hey, skinny jeans made a comeback from the 80’s, hair bands might follow suit), it remains to be seen where his musical interests will take him. My plan is to expose the kids to a variety, then let them explore.
Events like one happening this weekend are the perfect opportunity to do just that. On Saturday, September 11, the DC Youth Orchestra is holding their annual Petting Zoo. From 9am – 12pm, kids who are interested in learning a new instrument can check out and even try playing violins, trumpets, horns, flutes and more orchestral pieces. DCYOP faculty will be on hand to show kids how to hold the instruments and get a feel for what they might be like to play. If kids find their musical calling, parents will have the chance to sign them up for fall classes.
The Petting Zoo, part of the DCYOP Open House, will take place at Eastern High School located at 1700 East Capitol Street NE. The program is for kids ages 4 1/2 and up, and there are age requirements for certain instruments. If you can’t make the Open House, but want to sign your child up for classes, go here to register.