Saturday, January 17, 2009

On being taken by surprise

My younger son (aged 15) and I took out dog for a walk this morning. Inevitably, my son was plugged in to his iPod. As we walked through a large, open green area, he turned to me and said, "Somehow my my music is exactly right for this place." I asked him what he was listening to. I was slightly surprised by his answer: Chopin's Piano Concerto No.1 Romance: Larghetto. I say 'slightly' because I know he enjoys classical music. I just didn't know he enjoyed it enough to have loaded it onto his iPod.

I can pretty much guarantee that anyone seeing a 15 year old teenage boy wearing low slung jeans and walking his dog, the last thing they would expect to be playing on his ipod is classical music. We all 'know' what kind of music teenage boys listen to, and that isn't it, is it?

How often are we guilty of 'knowing' what our learners will do or like or understand?

A few moments later, he appeared to have a spasm. The concerto had ended and the shuffle had moved onto another track. Because the concerto was fairly quiet, he had turned the volume up, so the punk track that followed it nearly blew his brains out. It was very funny to watch. Fortunately, he saw the funny side, too.

And I realised afresh how many facets and how much depth make up this boy that calls me Mom. Moving from Chopin to punk (albeit not very seamlessly).

Moments later, he noticed that I was suffering with earache from the wind, and offered me his ipod to protect my ears. He set it to play something he thought I would enjoy, and I almost danced the rest of the way home as Grieg worked his magic. The final stretch was taken to the accompaniment of the incomparable Dance of Valkyrie.

Contented sigh.

1 comment:

V Yonkers said...

Actually, your story is similar to my own children's listening style. One thing that the ipod has done is to allow teens to pick and choose music (videos, pictures) that are individual to their tastes. While my kids have certain playlists they will share with friends, they also have their "secret" playlists they would never admit to the friends that they have.

It is amazing how a small piece of technology has become so liberating to a generation, allowing them both to socialize with their peers, but also develop their own sense of style. (It is also amazing to me how many of the issues you blog about are universal).