Music: It's not what we do, it's who we are



I confess: I didn't come up with this title on my own. I kinda' maybe stole it from my daughters' new t-shirts. But it just seemed appropriate. We're in the middle of what you might call "music week." In this household, for nearly 20 years now, a couple weeks before Christmas, and a couple weeks before the end of the school year in May, "music is who we are." This is actually one of our slower years, as both girls perform at the same school, in the same band and the same choir, cutting our concert attendance down by about half over last year.

Music week started Friday night with a 2-hour choir rehearsal. It continues this afternoon with the choir concert....this year it's a "music at the movies" theme. Based on the previews I've heard in the morning and afternoon, at bedtime and on our way to promises to be a good show!

Monday is the 3-hour band rehearsal, followed by the Tuesday night band concert. The band "collage" concert is always a highlight of the year! The concert progresses seamlessly from band to solo to ensemble, and back to band. It includes a couple of Middle School bands, the High School symphonic band, the Jazz band, and even the Marching Band.

On Thursday evening we'll attend the Band Awards Banquet. The evening includes a nice dinner, a video or two, entertainment by the jazz band, lots of awards and name-calling (in a good way, of course), and the start of our "good-byes" to the seniors.

To round off our week, on Friday, the girls will take part in the Piano Guild "auditions." They are each still working at memorizing and perfecting three piano pieces which they will play before a panel of judges. The "report card" they receive afterwards gives them comments and pointers for improvement.

All this got me thinking about music...its importance in our lives and its impact on our family. We have a piano and a small electric organ, two trumpets, a flute, a fife and a drum, bongos, more guitars than I can count (five?), a ukulele, a banjo, and a mandolin; and most of us love to sing too. I don't say this to "toot my own horn" (haha...sorry, couldn't resist), but rather to illustrate how this family, like many others, has a family passion. For some families, it's softball or soccer. Others  may love Nascar. Or fishing. Or cooking. And while we each have individual interests as well, our family passion draws us together and gives us mutual enjoyment and pleasure.

When it comes to our music, we're decent at what we do, but I daresay none of us will ever win an "America's Got Talent" show, or play at Radio City Music Hall. That's not why we do it. To restate my title, it's not even about "what we do." It's about "who we are."

We are musicians and music-lovers. We love the way the rhythms and notes fall into mathematical patterns in our brains. We love being able to master those difficult measures of the song through practicing, and practicing...and then practicing again, and again...and again. As parents we love seeing the tears turn to smiles as the frustration finally bears fruit, and a lovely melody emerges.

As a "family passion," music brings us together. Whether singing in the car or around the piano; listening to Seth on his guitar by the campfire; or laughing together at Tom's unending ability to turn anything we say into a song. Music brings the boys home to see their sisters in concerts and musicals, and it brings all the extended family together every Christmas to sing the Hallelujah Chorus around Grandma & Grandpa's piano.

We love how music makes us feel...light, happy, thankful, pensive, sorrowful, joyful, crazy, energized. How it makes us want to dance. And sing. And cry.  And dream. And yearn. And worship. And love.

"Music week" may be busy. It may be hectic and stressful. The homework may suffer and our bodies may be sleep-deprived. But even so, it's worth it. That's because "'s who we are."