Sunday, May 15, 2011

Music, it feeds the soul...

I come from a family of music nuts, I mean geniuses. I do not include myself in this category, but I sure do LOVE my music. You can often catch me singing or humming and it's quite common for me to be brought to tears or laughter while listening to a good song.

It's a bit annoying to be riding in the car with me sometimes because when a good song comes on the radio, everyone better stop and soak it in or sing along! I am reminded of a time in high school, during a period when I drove my brother to school with me every day. I was a senior and he was a freshman. Well, we had developed a sort of pact or understanding, if you will, that during a favorite song NO ONE would talk or interrupt the other from singing and having this emotional experience.

But we had not clued anyone else into the pact because we hardly rode with another member of the family when both together.

Well, one day we were riding in the car and my dad and mom were with us and the song "Desperado" by The Eagles came on and we all started singing it. Then, Dad began to tell us a story or start a conversation. We all participated and talked. And, fortunately, the song was on a tape (remember those?) and so Willem rewound the tape and we began listening to the song again. Each of us humming the chords and preparing for belting the first few lines.

Dad didn't get the memo and talked again. So, again, Willem rewound the tape. It was at this point that we explained how important it was for us to have our emotional release through singing the song! And we all had a good laugh.

When debating whether or not to start a blog, I tried to think of a purpose for writing. The one thing that kept coming to mind was choosing a new song each post and writing about how it relates to life or evokes a particular emotion. So, you may catch a few posts about songs. If it dulls you, I apologize. At least I won't start the tape over again!

But what leads me to discuss this today is what is happening in many school districts around the country: the cutting of funds, teachers, or programs in the areas of music, drama, and art. My siblings, cousins and I have been so blessed to be a part of a family that is so deeply rooted in music and artistic expression AS WELL AS schools that have had music/arts programs and gave us the opportunities to be a part of orchestras, choirs, bands, plays, musicals, talent shows, as well as All-District/Regional/State programs.

We have an uncle who works in Miami and is constantly worried about his music therapy position within the schools, due to limited funding and support. We also have an aunt and her friend who teach music in an elementary and high school and are retiring this year. After developing programs for thirty years, their positions will not be filled by another teacher!

Who will continue to spread this crucial element of our lives and development to future generations if they are not from families with a musical background?

It's a scary time we live in right now. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

The pictures used are all from our wedding. We are so fortunate to have professional musicians in our family, to conduct and play the piano, flute, trumpet, and violin for our wedding music. My dad (green shirt with program in his hand) led a 3-part round and even wrote a song for me and sang it to me on my wedding day!

All pictures by Lucy O Photography


  1. Yes, you're right. However, no matter what happens in the schools and with budgets- Music will live on. With iPods and Internet, music is only celebrated even more, I think. My friend read me a fact from a magazine yesterday- Something like, "Along with sex and food, music releases the same feel-good hormones in the brain."
    Let's face it- are we going to ever get rid of sex? Food? So- music is here to stay, too! Thank heavens!

  2. Powerful stuff, singing bird!
    Love, Dad

  3. I, too, am saddened by the cuts to music and the arts. No one in my family had ever played an instrument, but I joined band in middle school and was first chair clarinet in no time. My son's favorite classes in elementary school were always music and art classes. He would get so excited to go to school on the days he had these classes. When I was interning at the elementary school, the collaboration between the music and art teachers and the rest of the general education teachers was so great- the music and art classes were exciting and taught the subjects while simultaneously incorporating and reinforcing subject matter from the general education classroom. It was wonderful! I really hate to see that end.