Music Men

Baby Keith used to jam on his own internal drum, mommy's belly, before he was born.

I'll never forget the first time my baby said “hello” to me. 

It was the summer of 2008, and my husband and I were driving on Rt. 9 over the Raritan River. The destination escapes me because this was before diaper bags and car seats, when we could hop in the car at a moment’s notice for any reason—or no reason at all. (Perhaps we were getting milkshakes—my biggest pregnancy craving by far.)

The song “Viva La Vida” came on the radio, and I wasn’t sick of it yet, so I turned up the volume. Within an instant, I felt the kicks that are the most glorious aspect of the third trimester. Something was different this time, though. Our little one was doing somersaults in utero. “John! Feel this!” I exclaimed. He could actually see the movement externally, and we quickly concluded, “The baby digs Coldplay.” Of course I then downloaded the album and played that song several hundred more times over the next eight weeks. Every time Baby Keith jammed on his own internal drum, my belly.

This issue explores the benefits of arts education in our children’s lives, namely music, dance, drawing, and drama. Our feature article, “More than Music,” outlines the advantages of music training specifically, including everything from better language and reasoning to higher IQs and test scores. We package that with a personal essay from a dad about his glories of rocking out with his own son, and name our own picks for kids’ music for good measure. Don’t miss education columnist Laura Waters’ inside look at arts training (or the lack of it, rather) in our classrooms, as well our article about finding that perfect program for your artsy child.

Five-and-a-half years after that drive over the Raritan, I realize it’s fitting that Keith used “Viva La Vida” to introduce himself to us. He certainly lives the life. But it should be noted that there’s nothing past-tense about him ruling his world. Seas still rise when he gives the word.

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