Though I have a hard time calling myself a musician, because I don’t regularly play or perform, my musical history includes the piano, saxophone, and vocal jazz. My brother and I used to play ‘Band’ when he was still in diapers and we put on concerts for anybody – and nobody. In high school, my friends and I would gather around a piano and sing, or play duets. The pleasure I got from performing in our school band concerts was incomparable. And when high school was said and done, I took flute lessons. I also bought a guitar and a beginner’s book – but when I couldn’t move past, “Oh, Susanna!” I sold the guitar. Eventually, the piano followed suit, the flute I rented was returned and my saxophone was packed away.
Life took off at full speed and, 5 years after my last musical episode, I found myself married with a career, a baby, a home…and a nagging feeling. Something was missing. Working through my rut, I discovered there were actually three things missing that had once filled up large chunks of me: literature, service to others and music.
Of those three things, music has been the last to jump on board to a level with which I am satisfied. I do own a piano now, my saxophone has been unearthed and I have been known to belt out a tune in the shower. But for today’s 3 Things Thursday edition, I’d like to be specific about what I hope to achieve, musically, in my lifetime.
Here are my 3 musical aspirations:
1. To start composing my own songs on the piano. (This goal also includes brushing up on/relearning technique that no longer comes easily). I have had moments in the last couple years where I have sat down, fiddled around with chords, picked at melodies, smooshed them together and then forgotten the result when I have tried to replicate it. Being a songwriter has been one of those whimsical fantasies for me; I imagine being completely lost in thought and notes, papers spread out over the top of my piano, pencil in my teeth as my fingers find their way over the keys, then scratching notes onto staff lines…the whole process enthralls me. To be able to share myself musically with the world is a big dream I’m dusting off.
I love this quote by Tori Amos: “I don’t own a computer. I have a nine-foot piano in my home to compose my messages. Why would I want a one-foot computer to do the same thing?”
2. To play the saxophone in a group or public capacity. I’m no Kenny G. But I love the feel of this gorgeous instrument in my hands, the warm, buttery tone that flows through it and the emotion that it evokes, in myself and the listeners. I played it the other day in the basement for my older daughter, and my son came charging down the stairs. “What is that?” he asked. “Listen,” I said as I brought the mouthpiece to my lips. After the first note, he covered his ears. “It’s so loud!”
So maybe I need a different audience at some point. I’ve always toyed with the idea of being part of a community concert band. I’ve also daydreamed about being part of a small group that plays nightly gigs. Somehow, I think the former idea is better suited to this stage in my life. I can’t imagine playing till 2 am and then being Mom and a coherent writer during the day!
3. To pass down the music to my kids. Music is a part of our lives on a daily basis, but I see that my kids have their unique relationships with it. My older daughter is lyrical; she loves to write poems and sing songs, and she wants to accompany me on the piano with her guitar and voice. My son is rhythmic. He hears music and his head starts bopping, his shoulders…they do this jiggly thing…and we always have to remind him that the dinner table is not a drum set. For baby girl, we have Skye Dyer‘s cd in the car because she will calm right down with it. This isn’t as necessary now as when she was a younger infant, but now it’s become our family cd and reminds us of our road trips last summer. (If you’re unfamiliar with Skye’s work – her music has inspirational messages of love: for the self, the Divine and for others. And yes, she’s Wayne Dyer’s daughter!)
I feel like now is a good time to start bringing some formal lessons/guidance/support to my children for whatever they need to develop this relationship.
There you have it! Tell me about the music inside you. I’d love to hear in the comments if you play an instrument, or always wanted to learn one. Which one?