Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for Music

For someone with no discernible musical ability, I manage to have a lot of music in my life. In digging through my brown paper bag, I've been reminded of the many hours logged in my role as mother, spent driving my girls to and from music lessons, the many more hours logged at musical performances, and the many many more hours logged listening to the squeaky bow grow smooth, the plink of a piano key become a melody, and the hesitant strum of a guitar turn into recognizable song.  

I think most children enjoy music and parents can encourage and nurture that interest if they have the will (and the patience and maybe some earplugs).  Because those beginning notes on a violin string?  Yowza!  Asking a child for the 27th time if they've practiced the piano they literally begged to play can get old pretty fast, and geometry will be required in figuring out how to transport guitars from one country to another for a child heading to uni.  Especially when said child is already at the legal luggage limits.  

But it's worth it. 


Daughter1 began playing the violin in the 4th grade. She played in her elementary school orchestra and  she was a serious little thing, wasn't she?  

When she got to middle school there were choices to be made. Both my girls have always loved to sing, and you can't do everything you might want to do when you're 12, so she sang in the Show Choir and carried on with violin lessons privately.  

Daughter2 started hounding me for piano lessons almost as soon as she could talk. I'm not kidding. We didn't even own a piano, but this one is like her father in the sense that when she gets hold of an idea she is not going to let it go without exhausting every possible avenue toward making it happen.

A friend suggested we get a keyboard and let her take lessons on that first.  Then if she was truly serious about playing (and practicing...mustn't forget the practicing!) we could think about buying a piano.  

She was serious. As it happened the church where I was employed needed someone to take a piano off their hands and I volunteered. We paid for it, but it was a great deal. We did have to move the thing ourselves which my hubs would say made it slightly less than a great deal, but we did it and Daughter2 still tickles the ivories.  

She carried on with lessons when we moved to England.  Every week we got in our car, me on the right side driving, her on the left side talking and made our way down a single tract road, which in a nutshell means two way traffic on a one lane road.   

Or adventure driving as we liked to call it. We wound our way through the hedgerows, the end of which dumped you out in a village that felt lost in time. We did a lot of talking on the ride to and from those is good for lots of things.  

My girls always sang in the children's choir at church, and they both sang in their school's show choir.  They also were in many a stage production, both at church and in the middle and high school years, and those shows are quite truthfully some of my most favorite memories in all of childhood.

When Daughter1 was a Junior in high school she started asking for a guitar.  Doesn't every 16 year old kid ask for a guitar?  We bought one for her birthday and she took lessons from an instructor at the high school.  He was very very handsome.  I mention that only because the music instructor informed me there were suddenly a lot of girls wanting guitar lessons.  Ha.  

She was every bit as serious with that guitar in her hand as she was the violin.  

Nine years later Daughter1 still plays. She leads music for Young Life, which means she plays that guitar every single week at club.  It makes her happy.  Makes me happy too.

These days Daughter2 is attempting to teach me, her un-musical mama, to play the piano.  I don't know if its possible, but as I stated earlier, she won't give up without a fight. She is almost never impatient when I hit the wrong note, have my hands in the wrong place, or ask 'what does that symbol mean again?'  She nags  reminds me to practice whenever she phones, and we sit by side on the bench when she's home.  I might whine a little and say I'm done before she thinks I should be done.  

Dear Moms of Littles-What goes around comes around.  Just sayin'.

She doesn't have the space for a piano in her teeny tiny apartment, but she has asked that we bring her the keyboard she learned on way back when.  She misses playing every day...says it relaxes her.  

She's right about that...when life feels heavy and confusing music helps it feel less so.  

Music is a gift that never stops giving...for that I'm grateful.  


  1. Great post- you've inspired me to get my violin tuned and pick it up again. Thanks for driving me to lessons and setting the kitchen timer so I would practice and for the awesome gift of music. Love you!

  2. I have always wanted to learn an instrument, but as a kid I chose sports over lessons. I am now trying to teach myself how to play guitar! We'll see how it goes. Glad your girls still play and have that love for music.

  3. I too have NO musical talent but my kids somehow got it.
    "We've" played the clarinet, flute, (marching) drums, and classical,electric and thankfully the acoustic guitar.

    Alex has been the most serious so the guitar goes with...
    I'd like to get him a ukelele someday. I think it would travel easier. ha.

  4. I would love to know how to play the piano. My girls wanted one also when they were growing up. Lindsey took guitar lessons for awhile but gave it up. She still blames me for that. :( Hope you having a good start to the week.

  5. My girls never "took" to their instruments. They started off with flutes, then organ, then guitar lessons....all to be put aside after a while. I guess it's not for everyone, but I do admire people who can play an instrument. And your girls look lovely doing it.

  6. I love music, too, but didn't seem to get the talent for singing or playing it. Two of our three children learned to read music and play an instrument--the boys. I guess they got that talent from their father, who took years of piano lessons.

    Although I don't always comment, I'm really enjoying your A-Z posts, this year. I know your daughters must be, too! They would make a great keepsake book!

  7. I am trying to figure out why I LOVE reading these posts with pictures of your past, and the stories that go with them, but I just really do! I think (besides the fact that you write soo well!) it brings me down memory lane (a favorite road of mine!) and stirs my heart to remember such similar stories with my own kids. Oh the piano lessons, recitals, BEGGING them to practice, singing lessons, shows, choirs, (both church and school)plays, musicals....ALL soo much fun! I play a "little" piano myself, and your daughter is very right. Very calming and relaxing. One of my grand daughters is now interested and so it begins again. Enjoy your day!

  8. I applaud you for taking then all these years and for your daughters continuing it - congrats.

  9. Love this! I can remember when I was a kid, the piano lessons, then the guitar when I was in high school. Needless to say the fingers were to short to chord the guitar, I barely made it on the piano. I would love to have a keyboard, I think I could pick it back up now that I would have time to practice. My daughter was into the bass guitar - electric. Oh yeah... fun! She never took lessons, wanted to learn on her own, I remember almost begging her to take lessons. lolol Love your posts always bring up memories for me.
    until next time...nel

  10. I also love that even though I don't have musical talent I have had lots of music in my life through my kids and grandkids. Great pics of your little musicians.
    I WILL learn to play the baby grand piano that sits mostly unused in our living room.

  11. The lovelies got their musical talents from their father. All I could give them was a love of music. NOT the ability to make it. Well, except the voice of Deanie- she got that from her grandmother as neither of us can carry a tune in a bucket. Each of the lovelies plays at least one instrument and, on some of them, are self taught...playing by ear, which is annoying to me because I cannot do that. I can play a little with the music in front of me but no one wants to hear it. I love the similarities in our families. I just wish I could express it as beautifully as you do!

  12. My oldest asked for a guitar for Christmas and took it back to college with her. That was interesting.

    Love this post on music.

  13. Oh, I love, love music in any shape, form or fashion. I took voice and piano lessons but did not apply myself near enough. Our daughter also took voice and piano and thoroughly enjoyed voice and still has a beautiful voice. You brought back so many wonderful musical memories for me. A great post!

  14. Bravo! When I was a kid I asked permission to play drums and my parents agreed. I wish they had said no to the drums but yes to any other instrument. :) Now, at 50+, I'm learning to play guitar. Giving children the opportunity to learn to play an instrument is a great thing.

  15. Boy oh boy do I miss the kids' music in our house. We loaned our daughter our electronic piano because she lives in an apartment and can plug in earphones and can't stand to not be able to play. She also sings and plays the trumpet. She told me she played the trumpet at her church for Easter. I so wish I could have heard her. Our son plays the saxophone, guitar and a little piano. And much to my surprise, he sings. When he was in college he played his guitar and sang during a church service. Naturally, I bawled through the whole thing.

  16. I absolutely agree that music is a gift that keeps on giving. It's so funny Joyce, because my younger daughter also played violin in SParta. She had Cindy Kimon as her school teacher at Helen Morgan and in middle school. )(I was the "tuning mother" who helped get the instruments in tune because the little ears & fingers couldn't do it.) My Kristen also took private lessons, 3rd grade through high school from Dawn Tedesco in Andover. Dawn was the director of the Sussex Co. Youth Orchestra - so both my daughters got involved with it. We spent many years involved with SCYO. Even I got to be a parent chaperone on 2 trips to Europe and was in charge of uniform orders, etc. for years. I have always been a "band nerd" and am back at it here playing in the local community band! Yes, music is a gift - a gift of a lifetime!