Young Cultivators Merit Badge: Music, Beginner Level

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.

photo by Stilfehler via Wikimedia Commons

“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.

photo by Nichelle Anderson via Wikimedia Commons

“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.

Leave a comment 3 Comments

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I like that you have provided pathways for young Farmerettes to learn about many topics that enrich our lives. Music, I think, is one of those areas where it is easy to say that it is too hard or I don’t like doing that etc. I think those are code words for saying, this is hard and I am not very successful. The cool thing about kids is that when they are young, they are fascinated with how to make sounds and relish in making noise. By making music fun, they are more likely to at least try and learn the structure and theory behind how all music works. The rub, I found, is when they take lessons and there are assignments to learn and perfect. It is in the perfection of each level that seems to make music no longer any fun and they want OUT! Perhaps, earning a badge, however, will instill a fascination and enjoyment that helps them view learning music skills more fun and a good challenge. Perhaps a music badge should be concurrently completed with A Positive Attitude Badge to shore up those inner strengths when the going gets tough. Learning scales can be plain hard!

  2. Cindi says:

    Music, laughter, bonding and the best kid to adult conversation starter I’ve heard of in a long time! “Aunty” is going to be the source of many great stories passed down and a most treasured memory.

  3. Krista says:

    Music is such an important thing to have in our lives and I feel that this is one of the best merit badges we can share with our younger generation. In my opinion much of the music today has become extremely hard in identifying the instruments used because the music is all made on the computer rather than with real instruments. This is why I feel older music and actual instruments are better for learning and teaching. This is a cute way to teach the younger generation about music.

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