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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Thank you for the music

I've written a lot here about Janey's love of music, but it's very hard to capture it in writing.  It's hard to explain it without seeing and knowing Janey.  It's not really just that she loves music, but that she seems to understand it, to appreciate it, on a level far beyond what she normally understands or appreciates.  She can hear a song once, and months later, ask for it and remember it and get excited when it gets back to a part she really loves.

A recent example was Janey asking over and over for "the angel song".  Well, there are lots of angel songs, especially Christmas ones.  She had also called a song recently that mentioned wings in it an angel song, so I tried playing that, but it wasn't it.  I played a bunch of Christmas songs, even though I like to save them for the season, but they weren't it either, and Janey was getting increasingly upset.  It's hard to see her like that---knowing what she wants, but just not having the words to explain it.  We were spending long periods of time by my computer using iTunes, trying to get the right song.  Finally, one night, she blurted out "And the Angels Sing!"  Somehow, she had remembered the title.  I don't know when she had heard that song.  It was on my playlist, but iTunes showed it hadn't been played.  I played it right away, and the look on Janey's face was one of the most wonderful things I've ever seen.  It was what she had needed to hear.  If you don't know the song, you can hear it here.  It's a beautiful Big Band tune.  We listened together, and when it got to the bridge, Janey started clapping and clapping, and looked close to happy tears.

That's another thing about Janey's love of music---it's very discriminating.  She doesn't like music in general, she likes the music she LIKES.  I think her love of songs is based on both the tone of the voices and the melody.  For example, in my playlist, I have a lot of songs by The Gatlin Brothers, both as a country group and here and there on country gospel albums that have lots of performers.  I don't always recognize them when they come up, but Janey does.  If a song is by them, even if she has never heard it before, she'll get very excited and ask to hear it again.  There is something about them she adores.  But others songs she loves sung by just about anyone, like "Over the Rainbow" or "Keep on the Sunny Side"

I think the most amazing moment with Janey and music was the first time she heard the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah.  She suddenly started to clap loudly, the first time she had done that in response to music.  I looked in the back seat (we were driving) and she looked close to tears of happiness, clapping and looked amazed.  If you know the story about King George 2 and how he stood up when he first heard that chorus, you can see why what Janey did gave me chills.

I could be deluding myself about Janey's innate understanding of and appreciation of music, but I don't think so.  As they say, she comes by it naturally.  My mother is a church organist, William a very talented guitar player, and Tony's family has a lot of musicians.  Tony and I are avid listeners, and the house almost always has some music playing.  And from the start, Janey would sing when she couldn't or wouldn't talk.  I think whatever ravaged part of her brain, causing her autism, spared the musical part of her brain.  And like the ABBA song Janey would probably not find musically pleasing, I say thank you for the music, the joy it's bringing.


James said...

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It's easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website. You can also add Articles, News, Photos, and Videos if you like.
Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you. I hope you consider sharing with us.
Please feel free to share as often and as much as you like.
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James Kaufman, Editor

Fab said...

Beautiful, Suzy, how you describe her discriminating love of music. And I never heard that song before, thanks for posting the link to it. I loved it!