You’ve Gotta Notice The Music–Before It Flies Away

See that front room up there? What do you notice about it? I mean the first thing to smack your eyes when you look at it? Musical instruments? Music books? Tuners, benches, paper? A violin tucked next to the couch beneath that table on the right there? See it hiding? Where it doesn't belong?

I walked by it the other day and saw stress. I saw instruments that needed to be tuned because like violins, harp strings have memory. And they'll remember whatever you tighten them to. Or don't. And they'll want to sneak back there. Even in the middle of a song. And then your ears will freak out and run screaming from your head because few people can take strings that are just slightly off.

I saw music not neatly stacked and put away. An electric piano–not in the picture–left on. Benches not put back. Guitars lying skiwampus everywhere–probably scratching surfaces and getting scratched. 

I saw a room not dusted–or my favorite, sort of dusted. Like, dusted around, because my little peoples' wrists might break off if they have to lift music books to dust under them.

And I saw a whole lot of not practicing enough. All of which rolls into a giant lightening-shooting ball and settles somewhere to the right of my heart, giving me motherly STRESS.

(*pant* *pant* *heavy breathing* *self-restraint*)

So then my 17 year-old called me into his swirling vortex of doom room saying, "Mom! C'mere! You've gotta hear this. It's new. I'm just learning it." And he turned on his ginormoid amp (for which he saved a lot of money and bought his own big self, and which is a quality amp. I know it is quality because it has a constant sort of background buzz when it's on, which means it is quality), picked up his bass guitar, and began playing the base line to Tower of Power's What is Hip?

And you know what? He's stinkin' good, my boy. It's why he plays bass for the HS Jazz Bands, and gets asked to sub in gigs and play at weddings. And he loves it. I know this because he follows me around the house with his acoustic guitar serenading me while I look for that dang sock the dryer ate. It is actually much less stressful to look for a sock with Malagueña playing right behind me than it is without. Actually, not only is it less stressful, but it's cool. Really cool. And he does this regularly.

Later my 15 year-old said, "Mom! Listen to this new harp song I'm learning! It's called Andanté, and it's SO COOL!" Then my little fairy-child (I call her this because her feet rarely touch the floor and her brain is usually in the ether inventing contraptions, and worlds for them to operate in) sat down and started plucking and strumming away, and it was beautiful. (One reason I love harp over a lot of other stringed instruments: you can play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and it's gorgeous right out of the gate. No nails-on-board screaking.)

Then there's the reason the piano is left on ALL THE TIME: Because Littlest Dude and College Girl (when she's home) regularly stroll by and start roaming the keys. It's a stress reliever. And on a good day, the violin comes out and people start to think they should get back into lessons.

So actually . . . This is a room of loveliness. Not Mother-Heart-Stress. And if the music were put away it would mean it wasn't getting played. (Although if it were stacked neatly on the bench I think it would get played even betterer.)

More to the point, I get to hear this loveliness. All. Day. Long. It's incredible. Music flies through my home. People play and sing and experiment. And I do believe that if it weren't for music we'd all go a little crazy in this funky Miller house. I'm so grateful not to live in an era when the only way to hear music was to be rich enough to go to a concert, or lucky enough to have some older relative will me their ancient piano-forte when they died. 

Boy. Thank you for the music. I've got to appreciate it while it's here. Because my mini-peeps are starting to fly the nest. Stay and play, my dears! You can even leave the music out.

(Here's the song I fold socks to. This recording is by Charo, not my son. No really. It's not 🙂 (Are y'all old enough to remember Charo? The little "cutchie cutchie" bombshell from Spain who sang and danced and repeat-guested on The Love Boat, and was incredibly silly and jiggly all over the 1970's and '80s? Well, apparently she is also an award-winning classical guitarist who studied under Andrés Segovia. I KNOW. Who knew? This is her. And she's amazing. See if you can fold socks to HER.)


About Janiel 433 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.


    • I nearly died of shock when I heard her. I remember her guesting on The Carol Burnett Show, and she was hilarious but incredibly silly. Turns out she’s a true virtuoso.

      Thanks! I think my kids are great too. Dying to meet yours. 🙂

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