A few months ago I had a completely euphoric feeling as I sat back and listened to my son’s guitar teacher playing for us. I could have listened to her forever. I got excited as I also imagined being able to one day listen to him jam for us.
And then it all clicked – I was immediately taken back to my teenage years when my dad would stand by or sit back and enjoy listening to me practice the piano. We would sing and play together, for ourselves and for others. At the time, I didn’t realize what a priceless gift that was for my dad. Now I can understand.
I remember one day this past year when this same son passionately said, “Music is my life!” My dad and I, if we were just as honest could probably say that same thing. Somehow, the music-loving gene was passed down through special DNA coding.
I have vivid memories as a young child getting out of bed and of seeing my dad, just relaxing late at night with big headphones on, filling up with music. He would often come home with new tapes or CD’s; we could find them lying all around the house and car. Because of his love for music and excellent sound equipment, he was the one to volunteer to DJ the energizing music before our high school basketball games.
Learning to Play an Instrument
But I’ve learned that actually playing an instrument takes music to a whole different level. You enter a new creative, emotional space. My dad taught himself to play the guitar as an adult. He led the church choir when I was little and let me stand up front with them to sing. I loved all the times he’d get together with buddies and play and sing for fun, at barbecues and bonfires, etc.
I, myself, took piano lessons off and on for about seven years. I learned enough to pick up any sheet music and play, with practice. It was such a neat outlet for me in college to sneak away to the music rehearsal rooms and play. But as an adult and mom, even though I have that same piano from when I was 9 now in my own home, I had not prioritized setting aside time to practice and play for enjoyment. I’d like to change that.
The other night we had neighbors over, and after a few glasses of yummy margaritas, I started playing the piano, and didn’t stop till close to midnight. I played some classical songs as well as fun kid songs, but it just provided a neat ambiance for the others to talk, dance, or play games. (and I personally, totally enjoyed it!) Another day shortly after, I had a playroom full of boys upstairs and just started playing again. I noticed that they would become subdued while I played, listening, allowing themselves to enjoy the music while they built with LEGOs.
Everyone wins. I love the gift I can give others when I play. But I get something out of it, too. Ideally, each of our kids can know that as well as they learn to “entertain” others with their musical talents and keep this music gene running through our blood.
As a new year begins, I plan to have music be even more a part of our daily life, both listening to it and playing it. We’ll learn about and listen to Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Tchaikovsky, in addition to hymns like “He Hideth My Soul,” folksongs like those in “Go in and Out the Window,” and patriotic songs like “America, the Beautiful.” But we’ll also dance around to modern songs like “Say, Hey” and rock out to ACDC and Black Eyed Peas, have Pandora on all day, and cheer each other on as we play the violin, guitar, and piano for fun.
What are some of your favorite songs these days? Would love to know!