Gratitude + Music

Gratitude for Music.

Today is Day 11 of my December challenge.

I have pondered each daily prompt of gratitude. And I have taken photos. I have shared little snippets on my Instagram story. And I have journaled. I collected ideas and thoughts and felt grateful for this amazing thing called life.

When I came to today’s prompt, I knew that I wanted to make a post about this prompt… this word… music… because really music embodies so much more than a word.

Playing the guitar plaid blanket

Playing music.

I have always loved music.

My father taught himself how to play the guitar by ear. His father played the banjo and his grandfather played the fiddle (aka, the violin). My dad used to serenade my mother on the shore of the beach back in their dating days. During my youth, whenever a family function would come around, my father would load up his guitar to take with us. As the evening wore on, the adults would crowd round in chairs and the children would lounge on the floor or the ground and my dad would play and my mother would sing. I remember feeling so proud that everyone loved to hear them.

My dad’s record collection was huge and I was forever listening to them and delving into my mom’s box of 45’s. When I’d saved enough money, I started my own music collection. I still remember days of taking my 45’s and trying to find the groove that I’d just removed the needle from as I wrote down the lyrics to the songs (not all music came with the lyrics and you couldn’t just google it).

If you’d think that I got the gift of music, you’d likely be wrong.

I can strum a few chords on a guitar, but I can’t play an entire song.


I grew up singing (not solos) in the church but had no training. I don’t know how to maintain my key when they are playing the high notes on a piano. There came a point as a pre-teen when I just couldn’t hit those notes and resorted to singing falsetto (I didn’t even know that was what it was called, just that it didn’t hurt my vocal cords) or moving my mouth to the words, but emitting no sound.

I took chorus in both the 7th and 8th grade. I did have to sing the scales for my teacher in 7th, where I learned I was an alto (kind of obvious). In 8th grade, my chorus teacher had an opportunity to take one alto and one soprano on a field trip to the University of Miami. I was chosen as the alto (Not because I was spectacular. This was a different school than 7th grade and chorus was a new program there. I was chosen because I’d already spent a year in chorus.) Our teacher was listening to music on the bus ride over and she let us pop on the headphones. It was scat music and I’d never heard anything like it before. I had never visited a University before. I remember it feeling quite overwhelming (I was 12). The only thing I remember was the warm-ups where we sang “be by be, be by bo, be by bicky, bicky by bicky bo”.

I had no dreams of grandeur as I still probably couldn’t carry a tune.

I spent four years of high school in drama class where we did musicals aplenty. However, I took the leftover roles (I loved drama because on stage I played somebody else, but trying out for a part was “me” in front of my peers, something I was highly uncomfortable with and so avoided) which meant the singing was done in crowds.

But long before I sang out tunes, I listened to the words.


This was the first song that I ever wrote. I cringe when I read it, but hey, I was only three or four. We still lived in the school bus and my brother hadn’t yet been born. We were listening to music and I told my mother that they just kept repeating the same thing (the refrain) and that I could do that. I asked her to write down what I said and this is apparently my genius. There’s a little more on the back, but it’s equally as cringe-worthy.

I remember a time in that 7-10-year-old range when I thought that I’d become a songwriter. I thought that everybody had those types of dreams. It was until recently in a conversation with my husband that I realized musically based dreams are not universal childhood ambitions.

What about you? Did you have any dreams of creating music?

If you’re curious about the inspiration behind my song, given that I was born in 1977 and the lyrics I’ve written, my guess is Baby Come Back by Player.

I can see the similarities. Can you?


I have sometimes felt that if I could just crawl inside certain compositions, I could be happy living there. Music calls to a space deep within my soul.

I had a recent conversation with my mother-in-law about my writing. She is the English major that I am not. I was telling her that in certain pieces of my writing (usually my introspective pieces), I try to convey my feeling through a certain cadence.

That is the only term that I can find to explain how the words move through my head.

Cadence is defined as a rhythmic flow of a sequence of sounds or words.

I think about how I would speak the words in a way that would have you journey along with me in the emotions that I am experiencing. Sometimes as the words pour out, they feel like a rushing stream, gliding over rocks and sweeping around bends. At other times, I can’t find the exact words to sweep you along the journey and I recognize that there are spots where the stream is broken only to pick up again. I think of these moments like the skipping of a rock. Each splash creating a ripple and yet there is a space before the next.

Each concept beautiful in its own way.

Ways that I can’t do justice in trying to describe.

Perhaps this is how I express my music.

With this flowing of words, this spilling of thoughts…

Today, I am grateful.

Art washes aways from the soul the dust of everyday life - Pablo Picasso

Let your light shine!


23 thoughts on “Gratitude + Music

  1. I’m with you on the music gratitude. I too grew up in house filled with music, being on vinyl or impromptu jam sessions by family friends. It is a gift, indeed. As for playing, I taught myself to play guitar but I have yet to be on stage with a rock band. I always dreamed of being Jimi, Jimmy Page, Clapton, or Stevie Ray. Oh well, guess it wasn’t meant to be. I’m still grateful for music though. πŸ˜ƒ

    1. I think growing up in a house filled with music is such a blessing. When our three were little we’d blast music and all dance around the living room. I keep meaning to make time to learn to play the guitar. I was teaching myself when I was pregnant with the oldest…he’s almost 18 now.
      I always think of Jimi because he was left-handed, just as my father and I are. I don’t understand why he restrung his guitars because I find the dexterity in my left hand for getting to the keys to be to my advantage. Then again…I’m not a musician. But I am grateful for music!

  2. I grew up with a very musical Dad. He taught himself to play the drums and I can still hear him singing. My son is very musical. He plays guitar and played piano years ago.
    I have a deep dream to play the piano but I have yet to follow through.
    Music is such a gift. Beautiful post Amy!

    1. Growing up with music is such a blessing.
      My oldest son is musical. He took a few drum lessons before abandoning it, but he has an ear for the beat. He also used to entertain his friends beatboxing.
      I don’t have any of those talents, but I dream of someday playing an instrument.
      Music truly is a gift. I’m glad you enjoyed the post Nikki!

      1. My son would love to play the drums. I used to play around on then when I was a kid.

        My son was so funny when he was little and played piano. He was supposed to be learning to read music but I knew he wasn’t. He was playing by ear which is amazing but not what his teacher was shooting for. He played me song and I asked him if he was reading the music and he said yes. I said you’re not looking at it, can you read it? And he said yes, I can read it after she (his teacher) plays it for me once. LOL so he was copying her and memorizing it and then playing by ear.
        I decided that if he could play by ear after hearing it once he was doing a remarkable job so I let it go.

        He switched to guitar as a teen and loves it.

      2. I learned to read a little music through chorus and studying song books that my dad had, but if I could remember any of it now it would look more like somebody hunting and pecking while typing on a keyboard.

  3. My great-grandmother was an opera singer, like, A REAL ONE. Her son, my grandfather, played piano, organ, trumpet and sang. Not a single one of his kids was musically inclined beyond singing (my father.) I was good at the recorder so I got tagged for flute. I failed at flute. Then I had piano lessons and never got good. Then I dated a musician (a genius who played everything) and he taught me to play cello, but not well, again, not well. My godmother gave me a ukulele, and I can pick at it, but nothing exciting. I sang in school and various choirs from 12-22, but I’m not gifted, merely good. Three of my kids are musicians like their father and it tickles me so <3
    The way I love music, I can't even express it. If I could make music, compose music, I would be a raging egomaniac! LOL

    Great post, Amy.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the post Joey!

      A REAL opera singer! That’s awesome. My friend in high school sang opera for talent shows or played the violin (that she’d played since age 4). I tried the guitar when I was young, could crank out the intro to Ironman on my dad’s electric, but became lazy after I’d worked so hard to build up the calluses! Sometimes I’m too impatient. I keep saying I’ll find the time to learn and I really should.

      My oldest played the drums for a bit. Even before lessons you could hear that he had rhythm. He went through a phase of beatboxing as well. The middle one thought he wanted to play the violin, but in the end chose not to pursue it. They’ve always had access to guitars and we owned a set of drums and keyboard for a while.
      LOL. Perhaps I would be a raging egomaniac as well and that’s why the gift chose to pass me by! πŸ™‚

  4. Thank you, Amy, for this very personal sharing of your story with music. It is one which encourages and inspires me. We aren’t all Bachs or Pavrottis, but we can certainly bring beauty into this world by our musical renditions and compositions.

    Music has always been a part of my life, and it will continue to be so, flat notes and all.

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