Monday, 28 January 2013

My most musical child

My most musical child
28 January 2013

It stands to reason, that given my very musical background, the fact that I am musical and the love of music in our home and continual exposure to it, at least one of my kids would be musical too.

And thus, I would like to present to you, my most musical child…..Luke!  Truly he is.  In fact, I would like to venture so far as to say that he is indeed gifted in the musical field.

So how do I know this?  And pray tell what instrument does he play?  Well none.  Not a single one.  He did play the electric guitar and went to lessons for a few years, but clearly the boy was lacking in dedication.  A half an hour practice before his weekly lesson, just didn’t satisfy me, and so after numerous warnings and threats, we stopped the lessons.  And just to prove how very evil I am, I made him hand the letter in to the music school – to put it in his teacher’s hand in fact.  A letter that stated that we had been very happy with their tuition, the standard of their teachers and the material that they taught.  But that Luke had shown no commitment in practicing and wasn’t pulling his weight.  He was mortified, but it was the truth.  The cessation of lessons, was in no way a reflection on them and I wanted them to understand that.  Furthermore, I wanted Luke to take accountability for the part he had played or more aptly not played.  Personally, I was hugely disappointed when Luke stopped, but learning an instrument requires practice.  And lots of it too.  I know this to be true with absolute clarity, having spent many, many hours playing the piano.  I nurtured fond hopes that he would prove us wrong, and pick up the guitar on his own, begging us to let him have lessons again.  But in the nearly two years since the lessons have stopped, his guitar has been gathering dust.  He hasn’t picked it up.  Not even once.  It is merely an ornament in his room.  No better than a bauble, adding decoration and ambience.

So, if he doesn’t play an instrument, does he sing, you might ask?  No, never.  Though I do suspect he mumbles along during assembly at school when it comes to the obligatory singing of the National anthem and the school song too.  Or perhaps he just lip syncs.  Who can tell.  Personally, my money's on the lip syncing.

So how can I then say that he is musical?  Nay gifted in fact?  Well, it’s very simple.  He has a phenomenal grasp of musical terms and indeed lives through them and by them.  He really does.  He is like a living, walking, breathing glossary of musical terminology.  Seriously, I kid you not.  Don’t want to believe me?  Well, please allow me to illustrate my point.

When I ask him a question, his answer is always given to me in “staccato” (brief, short, detached) – i.e. “yes”, “no”, “fine”.

When he argues with his brother and sister, which is sadly rather frequently, he speaks very “fortissimo” (very loud) – i.e. “Amber stop it!!!”

When I ask him to do something for me, his movements are “larghissimo” (very, very, very slow) – i.e. requests to wash the dishes are met with very, very slow speed.

When he plays on his beloved PlayStation or one of his best PC games, his actions and whole demeanour is “espressivo” (expressive) and “festivamente” (cheerfully, celebratory).

When asked a question, he tends to speak “bocca chiusa” (with closed mouth) – mumbling if you like.

When he does well in a test or his team wins a hockey match, he “fieramente” (proudly) walks around.  So very, very happy with life.

Naturally, I would love to snoop (it’s a mother’s prerogative and sometimes the only way I find out what’s really happening in his life), but when it comes to the exact location of his cell phone, he can be very “misterioso” (mysterious) in keeping its location a secret.

He has an uncanny knack towards and inclination to “spinto” (push) – as in my buttons.

Occasionally he acts in typical teenager-ish fashion as if life is “acciaccatura” (crushing) – it is oh so very hard and life is just sooo unfair.

When he really, really wants something done and it suits him, he can be very “prestissimo” (extremely quickly, as fast as possible).  He often applies “prestissimo” when it comes to brushing his teeth, before he’s allowed to have a last go on the computer before bed time.

He went through a period when his voice was breaking and every sound that came out of his mouth sounded “tremolo” (shaking) and his voice would also go “altissimo” (very high).  It has however now stabilised as a “bass” (very deep).

At times when he doesn’t get his own way, and he feels that life is treating him unfairly, he gets very “irato” (angry).

Normally followed by the “irato”, there is a period of “sospirando” (sighing) – he does lots of that.  It expresses frustration, irritation and being hard-done by.

When he gives in to an excessive amount of “sospirando” and I enquire about his wellbeing and urge him to tell me what is bothering him, his answer is normally “niente” (nothing).  This is never really the case.  He always feels that there is a valid reason for his “sospirando”.

And with enough prompting for me “adagissimo” (very, very slowly), he might start telling me his woeful tale.

Sometimes he is “affannato” or “affannoso” (anguished) about something.

He might eventually reveal “dolente” (sorrowfully, plaintively) how unfair life is treating him.

He has a flair for “gemendo” (groaningly) telling me what is bothering him.

Quite often he’s “ostinato” (obstinate, persistent) in expressing his story. 

Ever “insistendo” (insistent, deliberate) that he’s been wronged.

If I handle the situation incorrectly, then he can get quite “bellicose” (warlike).

And if someone like Amber, who is often the cause of his ire should happen to walk past and give her opinion, it is quite easy for him to go into verbal “attacca” (attack or attach).

When this happens, I try not to appear “√§ngstlich” (anxiously) – it just aggravates matters.

I immediately step in and tell the kids to “cesura” (break, stop) their arguing at once!

Tempers can flair and conversation can get very “crescendo” ( growing, progressively louder).  Something I just won’t tolerate.

I like to “enfatico” (emphatically) urge my kids to get along.

I do this with great “con brio” (with spirit, with vigour) and conviction too.

And if I try and sell them the idea of getting along and living “ruhig” (peaceful) and harmoniously together as one big happy family with great “con somma passion” (with great passion), I might just pull it off.

But when it comes to Luke, the trick is that I must be patient in listening to him and letting him feel that he has indeed got a voice.  Because if I do that, then “peu √† peu” (little by little) we’ll get to the bottom of it all.

It is of vital importance that I create an atmosphere that is “abbandonatamente” and “con abbandono” (free, relaxed).  It encourages conversation.

If I do this, then I find that “a due” (intended as a duet), and we have two way conversation and talk together, we can work things out.

I will “vittorioso” (victoriously) rejoice in my happy family.

Some “tenerezza” (tenderness) also helps.

Alternatively, some “scherzando”, “scherzoso” (playfully) distraction is fun too.

But most importantly of all, a little bit of motherly “amoroso” (loving) goes a long way.

So, I’m sure you’ll agree, that Luke is marvellously talented in the musical field.  A genius if you please.




  1. I can so relate - my boys are 17 and 14 and are gifted in all the aforementioned ways too!

  2. Do you really know all those terms?

  3. Will use these terms when teaching my class - lovely. As a last try with the guitar, buy the programme "Guitar Pro" allows him to download songs he is listening to from , transferring them into music and tabulation in a play along format. He can then be hands on himself in learning how to play them. Its really worth a try, specially seeing the gene linage that he comes from, that talent will be just begging to come out.
    All the best to you and the family

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