Friday, October 05, 2007

Hidden Art Ch. 3: Music

Part 4 in a series on Edith Schaeffer's The Hidden Art of Homemaking

Music, says Schaeffer, is to be enjoyed by everyone. Singing, playing instruments, attending live concert performances, and listening to recorded music are all ways to bring a diversity of quality sounds into our lives. The good thing is that most of us already at least listen to music everyday. And that's a start!

I appreciate that she connects music to the Christian life, especially how the Psalms tell us to "sing and make a joyful noise unto the LORD." We are not only encouraged, but commanded to make music to glorify God! One of my favorite quotes from this chapter:
Christian homes should be places where there is the greatest variety of good music, so that natural talent may find the necessary spark to set it on fire.

Some of her suggestions I found intriguing were:
  • If you play a portable instrument, and you are going somewhere there might be an occasion for singing or playing, take it along with you.
  • When you get together at family celebrations, sing and/or play music together, involving family members of all ages and proficiencies. (We should do this more often!)
  • Make a collection of musical things, things that bring satisfaction and also encourage creativity, including: books on the history of music or of music from other countries, folk music, etc.; unusual instruments or a variety of second-hand instruments of one type, such as harpsichords or unusual string instruments; and a robust collection of one type of classical musi

  • My reflections:
    We are a musical family. Gaines (and his two sisters) all have a natural talent for music, so I'm hoping some of that will trickle down to our offspring. We keep Gaines' guitar and banjo in the living room so if the mood or moment strikes, he is ready to play (I think keeping them out in the open, out of their cases, has encouraged him to play more often.) Though I can barely carry a tune, I love to sing -- in the car, at home, to Jacob as he goes to sleep. Gaines is forever making up silly little songs about whatever is going on at the moment and since Jacob's birth, the habit -- to my chagrin -- has rubbed off on me. (I once caught myself singing a ridiculous tune about diapers while changing Jacob in the public restroom at a friend's wedding reception. I wonder what the groom's grandmother thought when she emerged from the stall?!) We also appreciate live music when circumstances permit, and have enjoyed many a concert in our day. Jacob has already been to see our friend Eric Peters perform (though he slept through everything but the encore--he was only 3 months old, after all)!

    Here are some ideas of things we do, as well as some things I hope we do in the future:
  • We have started a small collection of world instruments, mostly from South America. Presently, they are put away in a drawer, but I hope that we can let Jacob experiment with the woodwinds and different string instruments as he grows.
  • Every week we attend a small Bible study in a friend's home. For the last few years, it has been our tradition to sing a few hymns (usually acapella) before we begin our study. Of course, we sing hymns and songs in church every week as well, but I appreciate that on Thursday nights the songs come from a completely different tradition and era, mostly from the early twentieth century gospel style. We have learned many new hymns this way!
  • Attending classical concerts in the park or in a symphony hall on a special occasion. My freshman year college roommate gave me a ticket to go with her to Handel's Messiah as a Christmas gift, and I count it as one of the highlights of that year.
  • Musical toys. Some friends gave Jacob a soft baby piano and he loves to hit the notes! (If only we could get it to stop saying, "Heloooooo, baby!"!)
  • Kindermusik (or a similar type of class). I've heard great things!

    What to Listen For in Music by Aaron Copeland (A fantastic introduction on how to enjoy music--any music-- intelligently.)

    Contemporary Trends in Classical Music by John Wykoff at Comment Magazine

    Slugs, Bugs, and Lullabies by Randall Goodgame and Andrew Peterson (for silly kid song inspiration)

    Please share any other music resources you use and enjoy! I know I've seen a quality guide to classical music on the web (especially for novices like me), I just can't find it in my bookmarks. Anyone know of such a thing?

    Looking ahead:
    Tomorrow Soon I will write about Ch. 4: Painting, Sketching, and Sculpturing, which will meet my goal of 5 posts per week. We also plan to stop by a local art festival tomorrow (if the weather is nice), so I may make a separate post altogether, hopefully with pictures!
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