A young friend of ours is turning 21, the true legal adult age here in the states, and so we gathered to celebrate this momentous birthday (and the Halloween holiday as well!) with an accordion cake, plenty of food and drink, and of course, music.
There was a time, not so very long ago, when I did not play music. Having never been exposed to music classes in the various schools I attended, it just was something I had never gotten into. Then I became the parent of a born musician. And I’m here to tell you, if you are musician inside, in your very heart, by nature, then sitting around tunes long enough at sessions and such, somehow, one catches the bug. Eventually I took some whistle lessons with one of the brilliant young local players, a teen at the time, and that lead to playing the wooden flute. I still marvel when I am at an Irish music session and a set of tunes is being played (at speed!) and I am (just barely) keeping up. I still struggle on the faster reels, but I play anyway. And listen A LOT when I do not know the tune. Eventually, I will learn more. So long as I just keep playing.
There is such humility and beauty in being the beginner. Our society doesn’t seem to want beginners. we expect ourselves to be able to anything at once, the minute we decide to pursue it. To be able to draw well, or play music well, make a marionette move just so, or to do a sport well, or write well. These things do not happen over night. Often, they do not happen at all for fear of being made to look the fool in front of others. This is especially true of adults. I tell my students (and myself) that there is great importance in taking those first few steps as The Beginner. And the steps after that, and after that. To play this music takes hours of listening. Hours of practice. Hours of lessons from the pros, and from each other. And over time, my fellow musicians have become my dearest friends. Our children are growing into adults. And we will continue to play this music together. As long as we are blessed to do so.
We will find the instrument that becomes an extension of our bodies.
We will sing with joy and abandon.
And whenever possible, we will have ourselves some fun in the spirit of the current holiday.
What is the music that makes your heart sing? Find it. Listen to it. And if it stirs your soul, pick up an instrument…. and PLAY.