My 3 -Year Old Toddler “Reads”, and I think of Elmo playing ambient jazz

Jack has learned to associate the image of a word with an object whose meaning can be verbalized, like “Jack”, or “Bubble Monsters”. That’s a stage close to reading, but not the whole package. If you point to a word he has never seen, he can’t sound it out.

He can, however, give the “right answer” when you point to a word he has learned to associate with a sound or idea and ask him to “say it”. These little revelations are so fascinating. Also, at about this time, he is dreaming, and when he wakes up he says things like “Dorothy told Elmo to make a pizza!” because I am trying to teach him about the “tv in his head” he sees when he is sleeping, and now a little dream statement he parlays to me gets stuck in my head , like a mantra when it gives me peace and insight, or an earworm because it dances around in my head like a bad pop song.

He experiences that, too. A lot. For example, “That’s Elmo’s world” has become a sort of demented pivot that changes the meaning of an immediate event, sucking up more associative elements of an expression. We can throw that into a boring situation and change it. The meaning is utterly plastic. Also, whereas we only used to reproduce the lyric from the intro jingle at the beginning of  Elmo’s show correctly, we can now say it with mischief, with anger, with exhaustion, frustration, or wonderment.

I am writing this piece as a demonstrative expression of this phenomenon. I am “reading” him, but I don’t have a degree in psychology, but someone else could “read” into my “reading” and give a response that, drawing upon other associative elements, produce a synthesis that maybe approaches the richness of expression and translation that kids naturally possess. We would call this “a passion”. She writes “passionately” owing to her depth of understanding and  amazing critical analysis abilities. The teacher learns to understand, and there is much joy in this form of exploration which can be shared.

Speak the truth. Sounds right. Tell it to me straight. Rings true. All of these things, these forms of “harmonics”, can be expressed in music, which is meaning you play together. If you want to hear only my


This music by Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto expresses the feeling I have when I think of what people think of me thinking about robotics, but it is much more silly than that. It is sparse and clinical, but the arrangements have echos, little time crystals that form their own subterfuge of melodies and modalities. But it is more playful than that.


Like this AFX casual freakout.

Or like this Mac Demarco fan piece. Silly.


But if you want to know, it can be many conflicting things at the same time, this musicality of learning. Like this weirdness from Lorn.


or this from Reich


Or this piece, which draws from Glass or Reich, and is purely rhythmic and changing, like Elmo’s world.Jaga Jazzist hasn’t really taken much stateside scrutiny, so have a listen.


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