Tuesday, April 24, 2012

the sound of music

we have a loud household.

there are four of us, and we all like to talk and sing, sometimes at the same time, often right over each other, sometimes about the same topic, often different ones.  the volume can hit critical mass pretty quickly, and i haven't figured out how to predict when that will trigger a need for everyone to go in their separate corners and cool down or when it will lead to us collapsing in a heap, hugging and laughing with each other.

music speaks to each of us.  when steve and i were first dating, back in the stone age, singing together in the osu chorale was a fantastic experience.  i fell in love with him AND the sound of his voice.  to this day, we still enjoy singing together at home and only occasionally in front of others.  we surprised diana's piano teacher during one lesson by singing a snippet of beethoven's ode to joy - in the original german - as we had learned while performing with some chorus in our bk (before kids) past.

with both kids when they were very young, we participated in music together classes.  we loved the teachers and i adored the music.  i believe wholeheartedly that those parent-child participative experiences gave them a good foundation for musical competence in a fun, gentle, non-competitive way - and i so appreciated learning new ways of incorporating movement into our singing.  it has been years since we went to a class, but we still put on the cds at home and in the car and sing along and dance and make up new words as we go.

at chess club one day, diana and i heard a homeschooling friend playing the piano.  we were impressed and asked about his teacher, whom he and his mother highly recommended.  it worked out well because there was an open slot in the morning.  our homeschooling schedule allowed for this, so diana has been taking lessons since august.  she really, really enjoys working with her teacher, who is incredibly encouraging, supportive, and complimentary of diana's musical exploration.  i appreciate her teacher's approach, positive and upbeat manner, and her willingness to incorporate our current interests into the lessons.  i asked her just this morning about the possibility of learning songs from the sound of music, and she had just purchased a book with cd the day before - and worked with diana to learn the beginning of do-re-mi.  wow!  i love listening to diana practice at home on the keyboard (i hope someday to be able to find the funds and the space to have a piano at home) and it's a treat when she allows me to accompany her by singing while she plays.  i find myself wishing that i had studied piano for longer than a semester; diana assures me she can teach me how to play just as she has been taught.  i may yet take her up on that.

ander studied violin for a little while.  he'd been asking to play for several months; we finally decided to rent one and had him fitted for a 1/10 size (it's soooo cute) at watermelon music.  he was so pleased to have a real musical instrument - not a toy - in his very own hands.  he immediately worked at replicating what he's seen quincy on little einsteins do and enjoyed the sounds he could make.  we asked around and finally located a teacher for him.  he took lessons with over a few months, but we just recently understood that lessons are not the way to go for him right now.  he was excited to work with the teacher, who had a very calm and gentle manner and incorporated lots of fun and games that were age- and ability-appropriate for him.  but trying to practice at home quickly became a struggle, and it was taking a toll on our enjoyment of the experience.  we went into the lessons with the idea that he would be introduced to the instrument and some technique to help him make lovely sounds.  i lost sight of that goal as i daydreamed about my kids playing music together, with brother-sister duets on violin and piano, and of him playing music for diana to perform her irish dance. when i came out of my reverie and really watched and listened to ander and attended to what he wanted, i saw that we had met our original goal after all.  when i understood and accepted the difference between our individual desires, we talked about it and agreed that he was "done" with lessons.  since then, he happily opens up his case and plays what pleases him, and he enjoys it again.  as do we all.

the latest bright idea i had was to put on the subtitles for the movie (we watch just up to the intermission, as the first half has the most fun storyline and music for us, anyway) as we watch.  that, plus printing out the lyrics so we can improve our diction, has made our home performances of so long, farewell so much more satisfying.

now, to get the sheet music so steve can learn to play edelweiss on the guitar.  christopher plummer's voice is quite nice, but i prefer my husband's :)

i am happyer at home today because it is loud and filled with the sound of music.


  1. she played the do-re-mi song on the piano for ander this morning. he smiled and sang along. my heart is happy.