Driving the girls to and from school, I have a captive audience and I put on different kinds of music so they learn to appreciate diversity. I like them to listen to Jazz, because while Disney songs and pop songs have fake feelings, jazz has real feeling.
For now, they prefer the former but are warming to the latter.
We've been listening particularly to three pieces: Chuck Mangione's Feels So Good, Grover Washington Jr's Just The Two of Us, and The Look of Love (which Abia now sings beautifully, with feeling).
I started with Feels So Good and asked the girls to close their eyes as the instrumental began to play. I explained that songs don't need to have words, that the music will speak directly to their hearts.
Me, as the lone trumpet starts slowly:
"imagine waking up to a beautiful day. Your eyes are half open, you're sleepy, but you see the clear blue sky from your window and hear the far-away soft chirping of the birds as if they were calling you 'come enjoy the day with us'. You think of all the fun you're going to have at school"
"Do you feel it, do you feel the music?"
Abia: "yes, a little.."
Gigi, softly, but firmly: "No."
Me: "Keep your eyes closed and listen... imagine the birds getting louder. Your eyes open, you look out and see butterflies in the garden. They seem to be calling you too. You smell sausages and eggs cooking in the kitchen. You feel your heart beat to the flapping of the butterflies. You kick away the covers, get out of bed, and [as the music reaches a crescendo] rush out to the garden and feel the sun's warm morning rays hug your face..."
Gigi, suddenly and excitedly, eyes still closed: "I FEEL IT, I FEEL IT!"
That was a great moment for me, because there was no faking it; she really did feel it. The music had spoken to her.