have your kids inherited your musical genes?
claudia the magnetic fields: eve is definitely musical. she was singing in tune along with records (or with me) at 6 months old. she sits and listens to albums in a way that people watch TV. she just sits on the couch and stares off, clearly trying to understand how songs go. she also retains melodies that she has only heard once. this was amusingly demonstrated when I took her to a christmas lightshow event which featured a parody of toto’s “africa.” within minutes, she was walking down the street singing the hook intro line to that song, and now she still sings it. ¶ the thing that she appears to have also inherited is my uninhibited attitude toward singing. while occasionally she drops to a self-conscious whisper when asked to perform a song (lately it is “rain rain, go away”), I frequently witness her singing quite proudly to herself on buses and subways. story songs, where she processes events of the day, or memories, or sensory experiences in a sort of abstract melody.
corin tucker: my son definitely has some musical talent, and my daughter loves to sing as well.
kim baxter: yes, he loves playing music, dancing, learning the lyrics to songs, and making up his own songs.
daniel handler: no, but he has my wife’s sense of rhythm, and you can keep your dirty jokes to yourself, buster.
jessica would-be-goods: my daughter taught herself to play the guitar (aged about 12) by listening to early bowie songs and has a lovely singing voice.
matt lorelei: ursula certainly likes to make noise. she’s finally embraced dancing so we have dance party before bath time complete with shakers, drum, sleigh bells, and glockenspiel.
bridget st john: definitely in spirit and in desire to play different instruments. she has a great feeling for and love of music. and is an extraordinary poet and writer.
kelly velocity girl: the youngest certainly has inherited the show(off)manship gene. I know there is a slumberland supergroup in all of these kids somewhere.
alicia the aislers set / magic trick: yes, she is insane! she has the most incredible ear. ever since she was really small, she could sing songs, with melody lines, in the key that she originally heard it, by memory! my grandma was a music teacher, and always thought that I had perfect pitch as a kid. sometimes I think that about lida. she’s playing a lot of piano right now. recently learned “home sweet home” by the crew…
andrew eggs/talk it: if they do I will strongly discourage them.
mike black tambourine / manatee: so far theo hasn’t shown much interest in making music, but he definitely likes listening to it and can be quite opinionated. he’s a quite a good listener, picking out lyrics I never even noticed (sometimes not a good thing) and learning his subgenres with some accuracy—punk, funk, ska, etc.
gordon the fan modine: they both sing little ditties all the time. it’s wonderful.
tim dagger: sophia has rhythm and loves playing instruments (she was recently spotted banging away on stew and jen’s mini drum kit in their house).
photograph of claudia by gail o’hara.