Car Music as Outdoor Training?

My daughter is slightly obsessed with “If a Tree Falls” by Bruce Cockburn. So I wanted to do a bit of a hyperlink experiment with the song. The results follow. Stay tuned afterwards for my thoughts on how this ties into the experience of all of us with our kids, outdoors.



Rain forest:

Mist and mystery
Teeming green
Green brain facing lobotomy
Climate control centre for the world
Ancient cord of coexistence
Hacked by parasitic greedhead scam
From Sarawak to Amazonas
Costa Rica to mangy B.C. hills
Cortege rhythm of falling timber.

What kind of currency grows in these new deserts,
These brand new flood plains?

If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear?
If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear?
Anybody hear the forest fall?

Cut and move on
Cut and move on
Take out trees
Take out wildlife at a rate of species every single day
Take out people who’ve lived with this for 100,000 years
Inject a billion burgers worth of beef
Grain eaters — methane dispensers.

Through thinning ozone,
Waves fall on wrinkled earth
Gravity, light, ancient refuse of stars,
Speak of a drowning
But this, this is something other.
Busy monster eats dark holes in the spirit world
Where wild things have to go
To disappear

If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear?
If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear?
Anybody hear the forest fall?


This is of course only one—rather pedantic, but beloved—song that could be used to teach your kids about the outdoors. But there are so many other directions to take this idea:

This is a topic that could be taken in at least three different directions that I’ll discuss here, but I’m sure if you think about it, you’ll come up with many more.

The first is represented by Cockburn’s song. That is listening to adult music with your child and helping them to process it. Jack Johnson’s “The 3 R’s” is a good example of this.

Another path is music created specifically for children. It is slightly easier to find songs that relate to the outdoors in this genre. SteveSongs, “The Water Cycle” or “Spyrtle the Turtle” are great examples, as are many of the songs They Might Be Giants have been putting out for kids lately, particularly on Here Comes Science. “Electric Car” comes quickly to mind.

A third path would be songs that are related tangentially to the outdoors. A song about the plight of Native Americans could bring up great discussion with your child about how they feel about the earth. A song about mythical beings like fairies, mermaids, or the Loch Ness monster might provoke quite a discussion about what all might be out there in nature that we are simply unaware of… which brings us back to the rainforest, where new creatures are discovered all the time.


Give this article some life: respond in the comments below how you might use music to teach your child about nature, and I’ll incorporate it into the article itself!



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