(This post is day 4 of the 21 Days of Gratitude project.)
I can remember playing the record over and over. I was probably about 3 or 4 and we were out on our patio and listening to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons' "Sherry Baby".
I don't know where we got the record (probably my mother's) or who I was listening to it with. But I remember loving it. I'm guessing I probably loved music well before that, but that's my earliest memory of music.
Music has been a pretty integral part of my life since then. I played recorder when I was in early grade-school. And as soon as we could play "real" instruments, in 5th grade, I chose clarinet as my weapon of choice. About that same time, my mom purchased a piano and I taught myself how to play. I took a few lessons, but didn't enjoy them much. I had much more fun figuring it out on my own.
Throughout junior high and high school I continued with music. I learned to play alto and tenor sax, and a smattering of guitar. I played with the marching band, the orchestra and the performance jazz band. And when I wasn't playing, I was listening to everything I could get my hands onto.
I continued playing a bit after high school, but real life got in the way. These days my musical instruments are shelved in the basement somewhere. But I am still deeply moved by music. Three iPods, and a 500Gig hard drive is filled with music of all genres--classical, country, rap, reggae, world music. I love to lose myself in the rhythms, be moved by the lyrics. I love how music expresses things that I cannot. How it takes me out of my head and into my heart. I love how it communicates different things to different people and can unite us all at the same time. I love how one person's vision (what's the word for what you hear in your head?) of a piece can be executed for centuries...how a piece of music takes on a life of it's own.
Today we were at the mall where the youth symphony was performing all day for a fundraiser. Little Man is rarely still with the exception of when he listens or sees someone perform music. He doesn't dance or run or sway. He gets perfectly still and quiet. He is transfixed. So, for a 1/2 hour he sat quietly in his papa's lap watching the dash of the bow on strings, the conductor's dancing baton, the flutter of fingers on strings.
As the group performed a piece by Shostakovich, I remembered the swell inside my chest that I used to feel when I performed with a group. And I looked at my son's wide eyes, his concentration as he watched, and I was thankful that he too loves music.