This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks!  Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.

Prince is coming! Prince is coming! He’s like a nature show, no? Remember Raspberry Beret? I, like, wore the aforementioned headgear while singing tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1999 to my dog in 1982.  

I’ve been swooning over Prince for decades. Prince’s recent cameo on New Girl, when he was, like, covered in butterflies and talking about loving everyone and being true: OMG. New Power Generation. And now he’s coming to Baltimore? For Mother’s Day? Be still my purple heart. That sure beats a soft-jazz brunch.

Prince is the audio engineer of my memories of my middle-school Saturday nights. He’s a neuroscientist of the power chord. Maybe we can build this city back up on rock and roll. Prince knows what he’s doing.

Music impacts our emotions. Feeling blue? Change your mood with mariachi music. Seeking a legal mellow? May I recommend the prelude to Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 as played by Yo-Yo Ma?

In HuffPo, Jill Suttie reports, “Neuroscientists have discovered that listening to music heightens positive emotion through the reward centers of our brain, stimulating hits of dopamine that can make us feel good or even elated. Listening to music also lights up other areas of the brain — in fact, almost no brain center is left untouched.”

Like Jack Black says in The School of Rock, “we are learning in song.”

At the Johns Hopkins School of Education, researchers are delving into the relationship between music and academic ability, psychological and social abilities. They say music, “expresses human feelings in unique and powerful ways” that “can enrich, reinforce, and expand learning in other areas.” So tonight when my kids are doing homework I’m not going to let silence settle on the house in an effort to make us seem serious and studious as 15th century British monastery dwellers. We live in Baltimore County in 2015. I’m going to dust off  the boombox (yes I still have one, a two deck cassette) and crank it with When Doves Cry it in the name of education, and human emotion (those fragile volatile things).

We’re going to get up on the down beat with our multiplication flash cards.