Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Our House of Many Instruments

I grew up in a house full of musical instruments:  my mother always had a piano, and for a brief time, we had 2, the grand piano and the upright.  My sister and I took piano lessons, and my mom was usually making some money through some form of music:  piano lessons, choir director, or church organist.  There's a picture of me at age 7 blowing through a trombone.  We had my grandmother's cello, although no one played it.  There was a rudimentary bugle, more of a war instrument than a music instrument.  At one point, my sister played the flute.

I've always wished that I had done more to learn to play.  I can play the right hand on the piano without thinking much about it.  I can figure out the left hand with more time.  With even more time, I can combine them.  I wish it was all more effortless.  I wish I had practiced more in my formative years.

I now have a keyboard, but we don't use it much.  We have several African drums, and a doumbek--we've had good times through the years playing with a drum circle.  I like the energy of the group, the way I can lose myself in a rhythm.  In a drum circle, it seems there's no way to go wrong.

For awhile we had a drum kit in the living room, but we never practiced much--too noisy.  We finally sold it, and a little boy had a happy Christmas because of it.

We bought matching mandolins for a wedding anniversary, and we return to those periodically.  My husband has several violins, which he plays weekly.  We have a guitar, which we got for free when we spent a certain amount at a music store.

This past week-end we brought 3 more instruments into our house, although they are borrowed instruments:  2 ukuleles and a cello.  One of our friends at church has loaned us a cello, since his daughter has gone off to college and doesn't need it right now.  I'm hoping that we can learn if we can teach ourselves to play cello, before we make an investment.

On Sunday, my church had the first of 5 scheduled music sessions at the parsonage.  We meet at 6 for ukulele lessons, then enjoy some food, and then bring out other instruments and have a songfest.  We're going to do this every Sunday for the next 4 weeks.

Will I enjoy the ukulele enough to buy one?  It's hard to say.  If I'm going to devote myself to a stringed instrument, I'd really like to play the mandolin better.  But we'll see.

For now it's fun to meet with friends and to commit to music for a few weeks.  What will we do after that?  Will we continue to meet?  Is this just for fun?  Are we in the process of birthing some new music ministry?  It's hard to say.  We're trying to stay open to possibilities right now.

Making music makes me happy, even if I'm far from perfect.  In music, as in much of life, it's the journey not the destination, the process, not the product.

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