Cultures wage wars in many ways, often leading to profound advances in human creativity and knowledge. They create opulent works of architecture, erect grand totems to their gods, and go exploring for uncharted territories and domains. But now there’s a new race: the race to teach little kids to memorize and perfectly execute the music of Leonard Bernstein.
I urge all parents: start now. If your infant’s first word isn’t “Maria”, we’re never going to cover the ground we need to. Make “Let Our Garden Grow” your nighttime lullaby. At birthday parties, replace the traditional “Happy Birthday” with the 4 Anniversaries of 1948 [but please avoid the 7 Anniversaries of 1988 at all costs.]
By the age of five, if your child can’t rattle off the opening lick of Trouble in Tahiti on the clarinet, or make at least a passable rendition of the piano solo from the 2nd Symphony, we will simply have to give up hope and demure to the accomplishments of a much greater culture.
PS. While we’re at it, let’s give Mozart a rest for the ABC’s and switch to Ligeti: