Saturday, October 26, 2013

Musical Musings

My man's hands. Love them.
Mike playing with Steve, Marty and Aaron.
Aaron at the drum.
Steve, an amazing guitar player.
My fabulous bass playing hubby. I was so glad to see him playing his fretless.
Marty - I'm itching to sing harmonies with him.
Aaron's wife and her knitting. I was so absorbed by watching her stitches last night. Another skill I'd like to learn.
Music has always been a part of my life. As far as I know, no one in my family had any musical training. Yet we all love music. My fraternal grandparents' church (Plain Mennonite) had no instrumentation, only vocal music. Thus, the vocal music was richly harmonized. My mother always had the radio playing. Hymns mostly. She was not a fan of rock and roll. 

Church was also a HUGE part of my childhood. I have so many fond memories of Sunday School and Junior Missions. The thing I remember: the singing. I can still sing you most of those little songs. 

I can remember standing on the steps of my grandmother's farm and belting out the Sound of Music. It just seemed the thing to do in that vast expanse. Well at least to my 8 year old self. 

My parents were (and still are) very frugal. Paid lessons were not lightly given. I asked and asked for piano lessons. It was only when I moved on to asking to play the violin (I guess it was around 2nd grade when they introduce the orchestra at school) that I was allowed to take lessons. My mother says she just couldn't stand the thought of the screechy beginning violin.

I still have my piano. (It was probably 50 years old when my parents bought it. I'm not sure it has aged well.)

I was not a good piano student. Yet, I have fond memories of my piano teacher (and her dog, Petey). It is one of the skills I am so thankful to have, even if the skill is poor. It is up there with knowing how to sew and cook.

When I was about 12 I wanted a guitar. I guess by that time my parents knew my love for music. I received my first guitar that Christmas. I diligently worked on my calluses and learned the basic chords. I'm a bit ashamed to say that's about all I still know!

So what am I getting at with these reminiscences? 

It's been 31 years since I opened that guitar on Christmas morning. I used to play and sing and listen to music all the time. All of my friends played or sang. I married a musician. We used to host musical gatherings before the children were born. 

Last night I went to see Mike play with some other musicians. It is always glorious to see Mike in his element (behind a bass). The other musicians were very good. VERY GOOD. It made me realize that I don't know music the way I used to. I still sing with the choir at church, Mike and I sing together once a year on Good Friday and I sing with the kids at school and church. 

Yet I want there to be more. So I've been thinking about why there isn't more music. I think technology has actually kept me from pursuing music more. When I was in college there was no Facebook to scroll before classes, there was no email to check, no cell phone to carry, no iPod with podcasts to put me to sleep at night. I used to pick up my guitar or put on a CD at those times that now I grab my iPod.

It's ironic that I have more easy access to music than ever before and I listen to less of it than ever. 

So here's hoping I will change that. As I'm purging my possessions this weekend, I'm thinking maybe I also need to purge some of my unproductive habits so that I can get back to some things that I value, such as learning new music. 

Maybe it's time to host another musical get-together. Anyone up for it?

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