For as long as I can remember, I have loved music, the communal singing in church and school. Although there wasn’t a lot of money for music in the budget, there were radio concerts and even a few records. I memorized the songs from The Sound of Music record word for word. My humming around the house drove my family to distraction (apparently incessant humming was a genetic trait inherited from a paternal great-grandmother).
When the salesman showed up at the door, I begged my parents for an accordion and lessons. I still have it today. The accordion was red and pearl, a beautiful instrument, but heavy. Still we lugged it into music school and logged about five years of music lessons before high school made that instrument seem very uncool. It would be years before I would return to making music.
In my mid-thirties, looking for something to do one dreary Sunday afternoon, I decided to tinker with a keyboard that was lying around the house. This led to more music lessons, and at one point even meant participating in a recital with fellow (ten-year-old or younger) students. After years at the piano keyboard, the notes and tones have become as familiar as the keys on a typewriter in my hands, which led to improvisation and playing by ear. Without written notes as intermediaries, it’s a soul music that calls out emotions and a deep longing.
When an acquaintance was looking for someone to join her in recorder practice, it provided a perfect opportunity to learn another instrument. A much lighter one! After squeaking through weeks of getting notes right, it’s been really enjoyable and calming to take out the songbook and just play the simple soprano notes. There’s still much to learn – counting properly is an essential consideration when playing with more than one musician. This is not the time to march to one’s own drum!
Music will also be part of a campout with a bunch of kids this summer, and I’m already looking forward to campfire songfests. My grandchildren learned this simple French lullaby recently, and it seems a perfect song to hopefully lull campers to sleep. In the meantime, it seems to have lodged itself in my brain, so there’s nothing for it but to properly learn the French lyrics and get it right.
Here’s to bonhomie, and music through all our days!