As you lot know, my job is to teach singing. I love it always, but today was a special day.

I have a 7-year-old student who has been in my studio for the past year. This girl did not have a lot of exposure to music at home or at school when I met her. Like most of my students, she goes to public school, a place where they tend not to allow the arts for fear that one day funding for the invasion of Syria could be compromised. But this child clearly loves to sing and dance, so her devoted parents take her to voice lessons and Indian classical dance class every week. I know. You love them already.

This is the student I’ve maybe done the most extracurricular work for. She has a unique vocal range that just doesn’t conform to most of the song repertoire you find out there that’s appropriate for kids. Lots of mighty low notes; not too many she can sing comfortably above an A. So every week or two, I pick a out new song for her and transpose it down a fourth or so, so she can sing it with ease. It’s been a healthy exercise in keeping my transposing skills alive, and it makes me feel like I’m giving her the individualized lessons she deserves. Example: she told me she wants to be an astronaut, so I worked out a version of Fly Me To The Moon in a key she could shine in. Win-win-win. Even her parents liked it.

Until recently, I’ll admit I wasn’t convinced about this girl. She sang her songs with tons of enthusiasm, but not always in tune or with a strong sense of rhythm. Okay, I thought, she’s here because she loves to sing, let’s keep that love alive. The end result doesn’t matter so much, definitely not at this age.

Tonight I taught her one of my favorite kid-friendly songs, Star of the County Down. It has a harvest fair and a horse and barefootedness and an elf! And for an Irish ballad there’s surprisingly little dying. There’s even a brief anti-smoking message. What’s not to love?

The child sings it with me for 10 minutes and then says: “You know that song Hallelujah from Shrek 2?”

“Yes,” I say, biting my tongue before I can say Leonard Cohen will outlast Shrek 2 in the annals of history. Let the record reflect that I never taught her Hallelujah. I’m all right with the bigger kids singing it, but I’m just not ready to explain to a 7-year-old about how to shoot somebody who outdrew you, and it only gets worse from there.

“Well it starts the same way as Star of the County Down,” she says.

I think. She’s right. She has known this song for 10 minutes and she’s already picked up on the one similarity between these two wildly unrelated songs. They do start on the same 3 notes.

Then she volunteered that her favorite song is Fly Me To The Moon because the tune is so good. I swear all I did is play my terrible little version of swing chords on my crummy guitar and stay out of the way. How is she working all this out on her own? I’m obviously going to have to give this little genius my job, damn it.

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