Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.
~ Oscar Wilde
Music and home. Those are two words that are synonymous for me. You see, I was raised in a home constantly filled with music.
My mother was a music teacher/piano teacher/choir director for 30 years and still gives piano lessons in the home where I grew up. From a baby grand piano in the living room, to stacks of choral arrangements on a table, to sounds of singing from the laundry room, music was part of my home’s core growing up. Come to think of it, the treble cleff and bass clef were commonly seen in decor throughout my home.
You would think that being raised by a piano teacher, I would be able to play, but that would not be the case. I took lessons for a year, but living with your piano teacher opens up doors that the normal piano student doesn’t have to face. For instance, your piano teacher knows when you aren’t practicing or should be practicing or you’re practicing incorrectly. Most of my lessons involved some sort of tears, but mom didn’t force me to continue and for that I’m thankful.
Besides piano, singing was another characteristic of home. On Sunday mornings before church, you could hear mom warming up for her solo that morning. From an early age, I remember exactly where I would stand in the living room to practice my songs for the Christmas program or some school competition (this was well before American Idol).
Whether being performed on an instrument in the house or heard through our stereo, music constantly echoed through the halls of our home. Handel, Pavarotti, John Williams and Beethoven were friends we constantly had in our home. I remember discovering my parents had an original vinyl record of the Stars Wars: A New Hope soundtrack and thinking I needed to have that playing the next time I took out my toy Millenium Falcon. (Side note: For all you kids out there, records are like big black, vinyl CDs that people say sound better than today’s digital music but it’s really not the case).
Handel, Pavarotti, John Williams and Beethoven were friends we constantly had in our home.
My parents were constantly adding music to their collection and looking for better ways to experience it at home. I recall my dad buying the first set of wireless speakers and thinking how amazing it was that we could listen to music in basically any room in the house. The holidays at home always had music playing. Sometimes it would get annoying (like those old Reader’s Digest Christmas collections), but mostly it made home feel like, well…home.
Today I live in a different house and have a home of my own, but the tradition of music I grew up with continues on. I married a musician in her own right and so on any given Sunday morning I still hear the sound of vocal warm ups as my wife prepares to sing. There’s still a piano in the living room and my oldest son is now taking piano lessons from none other than my mother. Unlike his father, his lessons end in much more joyous moods. I think grandma might be going a bit easier on him than in my days…just sayin’.
When my wife found out this fall that out our 4th child was going to be yet another boy, one of the first things she said was “Well at least I can have a men’s quartet.” Yes, music continues to be an integral part of my home.
So whether you’re a virtuoso or can only play an iPod, I hope your home has a touch of music in it to add to the soundtrack of your life. I can’t imagine a home being any other way.
Header image courtesy of Flickr user Joe Buckingham