Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Muse Over Music

I've been pondering music the last couple of years. It's a powerful part of life. It accompanies our religious rituals, evokes our emotions, moves us to dance and has been proven to heal the sick. I think of myself as a lover of all kinds of music but not as a person that understands it or how it comes to be. Within my and Bing's family, there have been people of musical talent. My mother played the piano, ( I loved it when she played boogie woogie,) and was the soloist/ organist for her parish when she was single. My dad's sister, Mary, played the violin beautifully until she died of smallpox at age 19. Bing's paternal great great grandfather was a violinist and professor of music at a university in Budapest, Hungary. And so it makes me wonder, is musical ability a genetic trait or is it something that is learned, or both? I remember back in 1952, when we moved to Milwaukee from Chicago. I was in fifth grade and very shy, hoping to fade into the woodwork and never to be noticed. (My long red braids didn't help in that regard.) At our school in Chicago, we didn't have a music class but the new school did. The grades on report cards were in numbers then, not A's and B's, and I was used to getting grades in the nineties. I still did in the regular subjects but the grade on that first report card in music, was 47!! I had no clue about sharps and flats and clefs. I still don't know much about those things but when we sing along in church, I know enough to go up and down or fast or slow at the right times. I can sing along ok if somebody next to me carries the tune, but if I'm on my own, it's not too pretty. And so, I am so proud and so amazed to see how Bernie, our oldest son, seems to have unearthed a slumbering musical talent that far exceeds any formal study he ever had. He is rapidly becoming an accomplished singer/songwriter/guitar player. He speaks of riffs and bridges and chord progressions. It's greek to me. I never realized that musicians really work at getting songs to sound right. I just thought that music just happened. At 69, I now appreciate music more. I think it's a gift and an art and a science and I will marvel at those who understand it and pursue it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Those six pictures in the last post are from 1988, not from current tornadoes. I used our digital camera to take pictures of photos from our album. These digital cameras are amazing!