Thursday, August 05, 2010

Things Aren't the Way They Used to be: Mary Had a Little Lamb

One of my piano students needed a primer lesson in how chord progressions work, so I chose a very basic song to demonstrate them: "Mary Had A Little Lamb." Lo! and behold! I realized she wasn't familiar with the song, so I sang it to her:

"Mary had a little lamb.
Its fleece was white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went..."

And that's when I stopped. I asked her if she knew the rest of the words, and she said, "..the sheep went too."

I decided I would ask all the summer school children what the rest of the words were to "Mary Had a Little Lamb," and thanks to my trusty li'l Palmpilot I am able to record all their responses. Here we go........

"Mary had a little lamb.
Its fleece was white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went.........

"...the lamb went too."
" was always snow."
"...the lamb which to go."
"...she spread out the fleas."
"...she was shopping?"
"...the fleas went too."
"...she wore a jacket."
"...she wanted to go."
"...she didn't know."
"... the lamb went too." (This was is a repeat. It got two votes!)
"...she took the lamb."

So far three children have known the correct lyrics. I do not consider this a consequence of anything important, but I am mentioning it as indicative of cultural change. Is this a sign of a communal loss on our part, a little more proof that we are losing something valuable?

Nah. For one thing, what's the real value of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" in the grand scheme of things? And another reason for not ever worrying about what is going wrong with the world? Things aren't the way they used to be............and they never were.

1 comment:

Laura said...

My theory is that they do not know the rest because no one lets you finish a real sentence anymore. And as someone who finds herself occasionally saying something quite witty if you wait until the end, I think that (END OF COMMENT DELETED)