Oh Ms. Margot. Such gossamer vocal overdubs. Such wistful sentiments. Such is her new CD, I Am 4, 5, 6, the followup to (wait for it) One and Two Is Three. And as you might imagine, the songs are age-specific for children in those groups. Maryland performer Margot Bevington has taught music education for more than a decade. While her concepts are nothing new, that’s not a knock. Kids at this age are just developing their palette and Ms. Margot is here to teach them to paint outside the lines.
I Am 4, 5, 6 is a song cycle for families. Starting with “From There to Here,” Margot uses rhymes from children’s literature to show how books vividly describe the real world and the realms of creativity. Parents who ever had a child “swear” there was a creature buzzing around the backyard will relate to “I Saw a Fairy.” And logic-loving “serious” kids are the subject of “Sense To Me.”
I am currently living through the phenomenon related in “Storytime,” as the father of a seven-year-old realizing that he can read most of the words in his books. He still wants and desires reading with me at bedtime. He is capable of doing more at this stage but it’s more of a bonding experience and less about the words on the page. One of the book series we got through was Junie B. Jones—so slowly that my first grader made it to second grade before the protagonist. Junie had a “Make Believe Zoo” and now Margot sings about the joys and pleasures of designing ones own personal home menagerie.
The most heartbreaking, personal track, “Swinging,” depicts a child and mother in the playground—one seeking to swing up (i.e., get older) and the other seeking to enjoy the moment (i.e., stay young). My divorce hit me pretty hard, mentally and physically, and “Swinging” brought back a flood of memories about spending time with my younger son. We would go to the nearby playground and he would desperately want to swing on my lap. I had lost so much body weight through stress and anxiety that it was at times a painful struggle to fulfill his wish. But I willed it to happen, not wanting to deny either of us the chance to build that memory, short-term for him and long-term for me:
I wonder why I like to go swing with the trees
I see the babies and it jogs sweet memories
My mother’s lap
Her arms to nap
And sway in
I’m bigger now
But she taught me how
With sunshiny soprano vocals (overdubbed with clear harmonies), Margot makes I Am 4, 5, 6 an easy primer for next-step advancement of discovery, self-actualization, and having fun with imagination. And now, listeners outside the Maryland area get to discover and have fun with Ms. Margot.
Here is the video for Margot’s song, “Heart, Pencils, and Crayons”: