When our daughter Willow was 9 years old she had been taking guitar lessons for about 2 years. There is nothing quite as poignant as hearing a 9 year old play and sing “Wayfaring Stranger.”
We wanted to find some videos of women playing guitar and singing, sort of role models or examples of what women are capable of doing. Friends suggested various performers, but even though Taylor Swift may be a good performer (actually I wouldn’t know) she’s hardly an example of a role model I’d like my daughter to be inspired by.
I brought home a set of DVDs from the library. They were copies of the old Dick Cavett show from the 1960s. One of the shows was from the same weekend as the Woodstock rock festival (oh yeah, talk about your role models!). Cavett featured some of the performers from Woodstock just hours after their performance. Jefferson Airplane played a couple of their tiresome tunes, and in the interview with Cavett they proved themselves as boring as their music.
The next performer was Joni Mitchell. In her first song she sang “Chelsea Morning” and played guitar. It was startling. Her voice was so clear, so *uplifting* that it made me cry. And her guitar playing was strong too! She smiled as she sang! It was a transcendent moment.
Having previewed the show we let the kids watch the Joni Mitchell performance. Willow was quite enthralled.
That night Hannah and Willow did the dishes. They put on a Joni Mitchell CD and as they washed and dried they laughed and sang along to “Chelsea Morning.”