The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,724 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,486 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ
Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
For this week’s Young Cultivator Make it Easy/Music Beginner Level Merit Badge, I knew I needed a brush-up on my own musical skills, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone. So to speak. No killing of anything required for this badge, Madge, rest assured.
I wrangled in my partner in Merit Badge earning crime, the ever-so-lovely Miss Piper, and I explained what we needed to do in order to earn this one. She said it sounded easy-peasy, but I reminded her that’s what we think about a lot of things in life until we try them.
“Remember leash-training the pot-bellied pig?” I asked. “The DIY flying trapeze? The year we went without Netflix? Yeah. That’s what I thought. Now, front and center!” (You have to be strict with kids. They like it, and it keeps them on their toes, which is always a good thing. I highly recommend cultivating a little suspicious fear in the whippersnappers whenever possible.)
We got to pick three songs and listen to them, trying to identify the different musical instruments used. This seemed like it wouldn’t be so difficult, but I made the mistake of letting Piper pick the first song. Evidently, I am old. I am not phat enough (what’d she call me?!) to fully appreciate the youngsters’ musical tastes these days. Still, I was game. I made a guess as to an instrument used,
“A kazoo?” I asked, desperately trying to hear some semblance of classical composition somewhere in the song. Anywhere. At all. “A trash-can lid? An underwater elephant with a sinus infection?”
“Aunt Jane! Come on now, that’s a bass guitar.”
“Ah. Yes. Totally was my next guess.”
Piper was a good sport and she let me pick the next song. I chose the melodious sounds of Simon and Garfunkel. My ears needed them after Piper’s pick.
Piper woke herself with a snort and wiped the drool off her chin (very funny, kid). “I’m gonna go with … um, a harp?”
Turns out, my instinct about how hard this badge was going to be was pretty on point. We attempted cataloging the instruments in a few other songs, but by then it was hard to hear our guesses because we were laughing so hard.
I’m not sure we learned much, but we definitely bonded. So that counts, right??
Next—when the giggles died down—we talked about harmony, melody, and rhythm.
“Harmony,” said I, in my most astute voice, “is what we were just doing when my alto yodeling matched your soprano wailing.”
“And melody,” said Piper, getting into the spirit, “is what we both tend to ignore in favor of our own tune.”
“And rhythm,” I continued, “is a most excellent word to use in a game of Hangman.”
“Aunty, you are so wise.” Piper high-fived me. “Even if your musical taste is dreadful.”
Pshaw! Kids these days.