Really Listening...

Occasionally, my professional work pays parental dividends...

Tonight, an hour after his bedtime, Zach (age 9) came down the stairs declaring that something was urgently wrong with his piano music. 

(When my kids were younger, I wrote and recorded a short album of piano lullabies to help them sleep through the night. The lullabies play through powered speakers in their bedroom, keeping the kids calm and helping to dampen the noise from the Brooklyn streets below. I keep the album up on Spotify for easy access when we travel, and they listen to it most nights as part of their bedtime ritual.)

I followed Zach up to his bedroom. He brought over his iPad, opened up Spotify, and clicked on a specific track in his "Daddy's Relaxing Piano Lullabies" playlist. 

We listened together until he quickly stopped the song.

Zach: "Did you hear it? It's *that* note. That one note. Every time it comes, it makes me crazy. It's keeping me up."

(He seemed quite serious about the whole thing.)

Me: "Sweetie... I'm pretty sure it sounded just fine."

I scrolled back and replayed the passage, and he pointed out the very same note. We listened again, but I still didn't hear anything unusual.

Rubbing his eyes, he yawned that "the note was really-seriously-super-screechy-weird-sounding before... but... it's much better now."

(I smiled, quietly amused by this apparent exercise in bedtime-avoidance.)

As all was now apparently resolved, I tucked him back into his bed, kissed his forehead, and said goodnight. He held onto my hand and asked me if I'd lie down with him until he fell asleep. So, I restarted the Spotify playlist and curled up beside him.

About 5 minutes later, I sat straight up.

The poor kid was reacting to specific piano pitches from the recording that interacted with the correlative resonant frequencies of his bedroom. When we knelt by the door with his iPad, everything sounded fine. When we lay down in his bed, "that one note" popped out like an angry glockenspiel.

In the end, after a quick dance with the equalizer, my boy was quietly snoring once again....

And as I closed his door, I promised myself that I'd listen a little more critically next time... not to the music, but to my child. 

- AudioDad, out.