Sunday, September 10, 2006
It thrills my heart and my ears to hear the lovely ladies and fine young gents singing all day long, humming their favorite tunes and making up their own songs-- at the table, in the car, as they play, at night as they drift off to sleep. Plinking on the piano, tapping the drums. Clanging through the house that's been transformed into a music parade route. Someone always making music.
Music was a part of my childhood too: Family sing-alongs, Mom on piano and Dad on guitar and the rest of us joining in with our voices; guitar lessons and choir; listening to Johnny Cash and Frankie Lane records; old-time fiddling get-togethers at the Grange; singing and humming through the day. We didn't just sit and listen passively to the radio, we made music. Music was a vital living enterprise.
Our visit to the east side of the mountains was filled with music. Backyard guitar, fiddles, voices in the warm after- noons. I got to sing with my Irie Sis, something I've never done before. (Click on her picture to read about her guitar adventure.) I think she's always been a little shy of singing where others can hear. What a joy to hear her voice; it's lovely. It was a treat to hear David and my dad play together, Dad on the fiddle and David on his guitar. Later, Megan and David playing together, singing and talking quietly.
I picked up Dad's guitar once everyone had left and plinked around. I haven't played since high school. I still remember how to play; I was able to pick out a new song by ear the first time I tried. I'm still surprised at how natural it felt and how much I've missed playing.
Music is rooted in my soul, along with books and gardens and forests. I passionately want for my children to understand that music is theirs; not just something that we can listen to, but something that we can create. Recorded music is such a blessing: Can you imagine not being able to hear Mozart unless there was a live performance nearby? Or not being able to hear Ella unless you were fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to attend a concert? The trade-off is that music has become a passive entertainment for so many people. When we can hear the most talented musicians in the world, our own singing and playing suffers by comparison, at least to our ears. Families rarely gather around the piano in the evening because they can watch American Idol instead.
Along with the kids, I sing all day every day. I love singing. But now that the baby isn't really a baby any more I find myself longing for...something...a new challenge (or the revival of an old one), something to fill that more-and-more-often empty space in my lap. Think it would be silly to ask for a guitar for Christmas?