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.
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.
Let your light shine!