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Michelangelo

Mom and pop, store this

On Vijayadasami Day, the day for fresh beginnings and new learning, we provide some advice to the people who need them most: Parents. We tell them how to nurture musical and artistic skills of their children, because this column subscribes to the school of thought that academic education isn’t everything in life.

Music

Music is what binds this disparate world together. Be it Manchester or Madurai, Barbados or Bhubaneshwar, Istanbul or Itarsi , the world is united in one musical feeling, which is of course, none of us can’t tell for sure whether it is female or male singing when the song playing in the background is Justin Bieber’s.

Be that as it may, as a responsible parent interested in the holistic development of your child, you must expose your child to every kind of music right from its infancy. Who knows you son could turn out to be a musical genius. But, as a caution, it should also be pointed out here, he could turn out to be a T Rajendher.

In the event of your son exhibiting some interest in music, you must act in a purposeful way. For instance, if your son has a liking for violin, you must buy him one, enroll him in classes, get him the works of great masters, tell him about people like T N Krishnan and Yehudi Menuhin, explain to him the seven-stringed experimentation of Chowdiah or the ten-stringed attempt by L Shankar. All these will give your son a great impetus to stay away from you and perhaps just concentrate on playing the violin alone.

And if your son is interested in rap songs, as an open-minded parent it is your bounden duty to notify that he is up for adoption forthwith.

When you talk of music, there are broadly two types: Classical and popular. Classical music is produced when you perform wearing stuffy clothes and among audiences who have to come to …enjoy music? No, to find fault in the music. This is the chief hallmark of classical music buffs.

Popular music, on the other hand is traditionally defined as the music that all dads dislike. Popular music is mostly film music in these parts. The thing about making it big as a film music person these days is that — parents, write this down for handy reference — you don’t have to be a music person at all. Exhibit A: Dhanush.

Dhanush is, without any doubt, a compelling actor. But if I were to ask you to rate his singing skills on a scale of 1 to 10, you will doubtless throw the scale away, and ask for a vernier caliper used to measure stuff in very tiny quantities.

To be fair, Dhanush himself never fails to mention that he is no good as a singer. But neither his open confession nor the actual fact his singing is barely adequate seems to come in the way of his being asked to croon at least one song in every movie of his. And most of his songs go on to become: ‘hits’.

This confirms that the world is far stupider than any of us imagine it to be. Which makes it pretty clear that you should encourage your son or daughter to take up music, especially if they have no talent for it.

Art

If you carefully look at the lives of, say, Michelangelo, Raphael. Leonardo da Vinci, you will realise that these artists had one important thing in common. Yes, you are right, they were all born several centuries ago.

Your child, of course, is born in this century. But that doesn’t mean your child can’t become a Michelangelo or a da Vinci. Name change is a simple solution.

No, seriously, art — as in drawing — manifests itself pretty early in a child. The thing is to spot it in that stage itself. You can perform this simple explorative experiment to figure out your child’s artistic inclinations: Leave your child alone with some crayons and a few papers in a room. Stay away for half-an-hour or thereabouts. Enter the room after the specified period: If you see half-bitten crayons and papers strewn around and the whole room in a colourful chaos, it will make things two things very clear to you. 1) Your child is not keen on art 2) Never follow random suggestions given out in a humour column.

But what if your child is artistically talented? Well, the crayons will still be bitten, papers spread around and the room messy. What makes you think that just because you child is artistically talented it stops being a child? And a child generally puts in its mouth everything except that which is actually food.

Anyway, when you figure out your child is interested in painting, be prepared for long years of spending on chart papers, multi-hued pencils, palette, acrylic shades, water colours, drawing boards and what not. But this is eventually a small price to pay for encouraging his craving from the soul and inner talent, which, needless to say, also will come handy when you eventually goad him to take up engineering and take up a job with TCS later.

Moral of the story is: You are open enough to encourage non-mainstream talent in your children and give them all the freedom to pursue them. But upon adulthood, they better have the gratitude to follow what you tell them to.