Over the years that I’ve had this blog, I’ve talked about music often. While I am not much of a ‘player’ when it comes to instruments, it was not for lack of trying on the part of my parents when I was younger. I was put into piano lessons and then guitar lessons. I did better at guitar than I did with piano and even became proficient enough for a while that I played at school and sometimes even with the church band on Sundays. But, then of course came high school and suddenly I was “too cool” to play anymore. However, my love of singing did not wane and I joined the choir in both my first high school and then the second school I attended after a transfer.
I loved choir. I loved that our music teacher was so into the music she taught us, often getting very animated as she directed and conducted us. I took vocal music class as well, an option that sadly no longer seems to be a choice in the high school curriculum.
After high school I was married and busily raising children but still, music played a huge role in our lives. I sang to the kids all the time. When I was in a good mood, I played music. When I was in a bad mood, I played music. When I was sad I had my go-to sad songs to listen to and when I was cleaning my house and feeling funky, I blasted the Billy Joel and danced around with the broom. My kids grew up as I did; in a house whose very walls vibrated with sound.
I didn’t discriminate either. In my house you will hear everything from classical to Cole Porter, from Opera to Ozzy, from the Dixie Chicks to Pop to Rock to Classics to Oldies. And Broadway, oh especially Broadway. In our house the Tony’s are just as important a night to watch as are the Oscars.
I have five children. I suppose a part of me always hoped that a couple of them would be musical. But while I had the options of piano and guitar as something I could learn in grade school, AT grade school, my kids grew up with once a week playing the recorder in grade school. A painful instrument to listen to the early stages of five times over. Then middle school, where two of my kids were assigned the baritone. THE BARITONE! That huge hulking instrument to twelve year old kids with scrawny arms, home and trying to make more than just deep fart sounds. For those two kids, the idea of playing an instrument was drowned out of them by the baritone. If the onerous responsibility of lugging it back and forth to school and then home again weren’t enough, they just couldn’t ‘hear’ the musicality of it through the school program and so quickly lost interest.
And then my daughter, my fourth child. She was given a flute. I can’t remember which heavenly teacher I have to thank for that. Small, easy to carry, and a delightful instrument. She of course also struggled with it at first, but, notes were played. MUSIC was heard. And that piqued her interest enough to pay it some attention. She practiced. She got better. And then she got very good.
My youngest child flirted with guitar briefly but his attention and interest had always been more on the technical and on video games and so guitar quickly went the way of the baritone…left aside for other pursuits.
But Kathryn. Of all my five children she is my musical one. She plays flute beautifully now. She also plays piano and violin. She wants a cello (not in my budget) and she wants access to ALL the sheet music. I mean all of it. Like me, her tastes in music vary immensely.
I work part time at a music lesson business. Every day I see kids and adults come in eager to play an instrument, or take vocal lessons. I can always tell the ones whose love for music has truly taken hold. They have a sparkle in their eye. They talk constantly about what they are learning and what they are working on and what they WANT to learn next and they revere their teachers with awe and love. It’s an amazing thing to see. They never sit and hang their heads, intent on a game on a device until they are dragged into a lesson room by a parent, who then bemoans to me their lack of practice.
However, be they happy invested student or reluctant one who has yet to find their passion in music, one thing seems to be constant. When the lesson is over and that same student comes down stairs and back into reception, they are happy. There is a bounce in their step and a glint in their eye. Music does something to people. It changes them. It impacts them. It absolutely affects mood.
I love music. It gets into my soul. It moves me and changes me and helps me calm down when I’m stressed. It is absolutely the background of my life and sometimes, briefly, it takes the foreground.
It’s so important to take the time for music. Don’t just listen to the local pop station and actively ignore music in your life, try to remember the first songs you ever heard, or remember what music played during a favourite scene of a favourite movie. Get on YouTube and search out more about artists you like but maybe don’t know a lot about. Listen to Opera. Listen to Classical music. Close your eyes and give yourself over to the sound. I guarantee you won’t regret it.