I suppose it happens to all parents. We wake up one day convinced our children are geniuses of the highest degree, worthy of prodigy status. It happened to me a year and a half ago, when Archer unable to speak, was able to sing. It was the only way he could speak coherently. It was more than a miracle. It was a relief. We had attended various sessions of the speech therapy prescribed through Early Intervention but for Archer, it was music that finally got him using his words.
We pulled him out of speech therapy, upped the dosage of Bach and Debussy, Mozart and Bizet, surrounding Archer with melody until his songs became sentences and his sentences stories.
Beyond vastly improving Archer's speech, music has become Archer's co-pilot. (In the last year Archer's language has progressed so rapidly we've been told he could easily start Kindergarten a year early. To put that into perspective, this time last year? Archer was three-years-old with the language ability of a 12-month-old.) He's come a long way, baby. Partly thanks to music and its whisper, like angels in his ear.
Archer has always been unique, quirky, his own beast. His ability to concentrate solely on music and sound was cause for concern in the beginning. He had a sort of reverse ADD which made it difficult for him to focus beyond whatever it was that was consuming him. This waved a red flag to many specialists at the beginning who believed he might be on the Autistic Spectrum. (Einstein Syndrome? Perhaps. I like to think Archer Syndrome is a more accurate label.)
I wrote about our preliminary experience dealing with IEPs and Speech Therapy quite a bit in my book if you happened to read it and although I always knew Archer was not Autistic, I was very much aware of his differences, communicative struggles and the fact that he was not like other children.
Of course I never wanted to "fix" him. Whatever it was and whoever he wanted to be would emerge beyond the tests and the milestones he was slow to overcome. What was most important to us was nurturing his strengths and for Archer, clearly it was (and still is) music.
From an early age, Archer listened to music with his eyes closed, his little hand in the air like a Southern Baptist at church during prayer. He still does. And his voice? Pitch perfect.
"We have to nurture this," I said.
So for the past few months we've been on a mission to find a boy's choir, music program or magnet school (if they even exist) specializing in music in the Los Angeles area.
Unfortunately for the past few months I've come up empty-handed. Unable to find a school or choir-program for children under six years of age, which is unfortunate, even shocking for one of the most creative cities in the world.
This is why I'm writing this post. I'm on a music mission for Archer who craves it, who sings to himself all day long, who constantly corrects me when I try to teach him the sounds of the instruments.
"Do you hear the trumpet?" I say.
"It's not a trumpet, mommy. It's a French Horn."
Archer's ability to differentiate clarinets from oboes, violins from cellos and memorize melodies after one listen far surpasses my ability and expertise, even Hal, a music major and classically trained pianist, guitarist, former CBGB rocker has nothing on Archer's pitch perfection.
His ability to pick up drum sticks and without every having practiced or performed, play without missing a beat:
Of course he's my kid and of course I'm going to think he's the raddest in the land, but after everything we've been through, I can't help thinking maybe he has something - an innate gift, divine inspiration, an ability beyond what is the norm for his age or any age. And what kind of bonehead parent would I be to not do encourage the hell out of that shit?
Especially after last week when Archer sat down to the piano to play Carmen (his favorite song like crazy omg he's obsessed) near perfectly and completely by ear, his hands in proper position.
Boy's choirs or other recommended music programs in Los Angeles for four-year-olds? I've been searching but all I have been able to find are youth choirs and music schools for children aged 6+.
You're always so helpful and insightful and full of secrets and knowledge of undisclosed locations, good advice. (Thank you so much in advance.)