The Sound of Music

The Von Trapps were adorable, weren’t they?  I’m talking about the fictionalized ones.  This morning in the shower I found myself humming “Do, a deer…” and it took me a moment to remember where I first heard it.  It actually was not on first viewing the movie version of “The Sound of Music” sometime in late elementary school, rather it lodged in my brain upon emanating from the room where my sister’s Yamaha piano lessons were held.  I remember sitting in some hallway in the building (was it a church or a school?) where she had her group Yamaha lessons and listening to the class sing:

Do, a deer, a female deer
Re, a drop of golden sun
Mi, a name I call myself
Fa, a long long way to run
So, a needle pulling thread
La, a note to follow so
Ti, I drink with jam and bread
That will bring us back to Do
Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do

The song is a dodge – a way to interest kids in music without making it seem like the alphabet, without making it seem like the new language that it actually is, a way to teach scales without calling them scales.  I’m not sure about the relationship between Yamaha and Suzuki yet – I plan to investigate – but both focus on aural learning at first, and introduce theory and the traditional Western music vocabulary slowly, over time.  Young children who are still working on literacy in their first language are doubtless able to learn better with this artful dodge of an approach.

It’s kind of like the music in “The Sound of Music” – it’s a dodge of the grim reality under which the family is operating.  Nazi Germany?  Do a deer?  Fleeing?  I am Sixteen?  I know the first time I saw the film I took away the peppy tunes and not the bigger picture.  It wasn’t until I re-watched it as a young adult that its brilliance shined through.

Thanks for reading.


One comment

  1. […] wrote a little bit about The Sound of Music a while back – as with that show, much of the tragedy of Fiddler was lost on me as a child.  […]

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