Saturday, July 9, 2011

There Was Always Music

~Published in the Charleston Gazette - Sunday, August 9, 2009~

“God Gave Us Music That We Might Pray Without Words”. This heartwarming sentiment exists on a beautiful cross-stitched piece, framed and given to me by my daughter.

From the wall of my dining room, the affirmation reminds me daily of the importance of music in my life. If my house could talk, I’m sure it would say that there have been many joyful times within these walls, much laughter – and many tearful, heartbreaking times – but no matter what, there was music. There was always music!

At one time, twenty young people came to my home weekly for piano lessons. The lessons, each thirty minutes long, started immediately after school every afternoon and lasted until  This was no easy task for me as I had a family to cook dinner for and my own children’s needs to consider. However, in retrospect, it was well worth the minor inconvenience. Music in general and these students, in particular, have given me many wonderful memories.

A little red-haired girl named Malinda came to me for lessons only two weeks before a recital was planned. The programs were already printed and the other students had been practicing their pieces for a month. When I told Malinda that the recital would be soon, she was excited. I explained to her that if she wanted to be in it, she’d have to memorize a song in short order. Undaunted by the time limit, she made it clear that she definitely wanted to participate.

So I set about to find a musical piece that she could learn quickly. The one I chose was short and used only two or three fingers, but this precocious little carrot-top gave it as much consideration as if it were a famous three-part concerto; and if she was nervous, it didn’t show. When I introduced her at the recital and announced that she’d had only a few lessons, but wanted to play in the recital anyway, she beamed. After a flawless performance, she received rousing applause. Next to her parents, I was the proudest person in the room. 

Some of the twenty are still involved in music - many years later. One young lady is presently living and attending school in England. I'm told she loves to play so much that, since it would have been difficult for her to take her piano with her, she rented one there. I like to think I helped instill in her the love and importance of music. Another former student plays regularly at her church, and does a beautiful job. Yet another, with whom I've stayed in contact, declares to this day that I, and learning to play the piano, had a very positive influence on her life, giving her confidence she lacked before. All of this is “music” to my ears!
What a dreary world it would be without music! What if there were no birdsong? Try to imagine a wedding without the Wedding March, a graduation without Pomp and Circumstance, a ballgame without the National Anthem, or a church service without the singing of hymns.

Whether we are humming as we do our daily chores—praying without words, as my beautiful cross-stitched piece suggests—or singing at full volume in church, music definitely has a positive effect on our lives.