My husband Karl is a ginormous fan of House. (The TV show, not our house. Our house, not so much. We’re rather bursting at the seams around here, but the brand new house we bought 6 years ago was lost by the contractor to the bank six weeks before we were supposed to move in… but that’s another story.)
Even more, he’s a fan of Hugh Laurie. Which makes my British South African neighbors chuckle, because they know him from shows like Blackadder. So, when he saw that Hugh Laurie and the Copper Bottom band was coming to Benaroya Hall, he dropped about 80 million hints. “Don’t you want to go see Hugh Laurie for your birthday?” Not really.
So last weekend, I surprised Karl with two great seats, ten rows from the front. And we both enjoyed every moment. Hugh is very funny (we already knew that), a good musician (we already knew that, too), and very knowledgeable about early jazz and blues. (We didn’t know that.) The stories behind the music made the show all the more interesting.
But as the evening progressed, I became more and more agitated. I suddenly came to the realization that I wasn’t satisfied (like most of the people around me, judging by their smiling faces and tapping feet and hands) to just sit there and listen.
I found that I wasn’t happy just listening to the music; my joy would have been complete had I been able to participate in the music making. I don’t play blues, or jazz. I’m a euphonium player. I wouldn’t have been comfortable in that genre with those musicians – I’m certainly not saying that!
It took me a while to figure the source of my discomfort. I was raised to be a creator of music, not solely a consumer of music. My children were, too. First, it was through Kindermusik classes. With grownups participating right alongside the little ones, showing them what a musical community looks and sounds like. Next, it was private music lessons, and small string groups and band. I continue to play right alongside them.
There is something extremely gratifying to the soul when you make music with other people. In a music ensemble, you are actually creating together. The hearts and minds of the group (no matter the size) join together and the outcome is one beautiful thing.
I do love listening to wonderful live music. But I’m also realizing that just as much, my heart needs to be making music, too. With the advent of the gramophone, we began the process of changing from creators to consumers. Gone is the singing together in the car on road trips, the barn-raising dances, and many local community bands and orchestras. And that’s more than a little sad.
I am just ONE musical momma. But I can raise THREE music making children. I can gift to them a love of music. I can show them how to satisfy their souls. I can make music with them. And that’s the best part of all.
-posted by Miss Analiisa, who will be adding a bassoon, tenor saxophone, and a trombone to her menagerie this summer.