Sunday, April 25, 2010

Musical Inclinations

Two of several reasons we've been so busy (and not updating the blog):

I'm taking fiddle lessons while Jon is enrolled in guitar. We've also been practicing and teaching ourselves at home from online video tutorials and sheet music. It's such a blast, we're wondering why we didn't pursue music this passionately earlier in our lives. Our first round of lessons ends in just a couple of weeks, and we'll miss them!

We experienced the unifying power of music last night when my family came over to celebrate my mom and dad's 50th wedding anniversary. We had a small, informal family dinner at our place (BBQ ribs and potato salad with celebratory champagne!), and I broke out my fiddle to play a song I had been learning all week for the occasion: Auld Lang Syne. The song couldn't be further from an anniversary song (look up the lyrics sometime), but it's such a beautiful song on the violin and it's in my songbook, so I couldn't resist playing it for them.

As I played (despite the screeching and missplaced notes--I'm still learning), I watched everyone's face relax and their eyes wander off into distant places in their minds. But nothing was more gratifying than to hear my mom begin to softly sing along--in French. Apparently, Americans aren't the only ones who sing this song each New Year's Eve. And my mom said that during WWII, people sang it to each other as a way to say "we'll see each other again". It was so moving to play along with my mom's sweet voice.

Then my brothers took a stab at playing my violin--which was pretty funny--and Jon broke out his guitar, which prompted my brothers to participate in showing him a few chords, since both of them are proficient in guitar and bass. The evening became a serenade of various instruments and my mom and I listening to bluegrass tunes I want to learn to play on the fiddle someday from my iPod in the other room.

As Leonard Bernstein is credited with saying, "music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable." Last night, it certainly brought our family together in a delightful way we've never experienced.

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