Friday, October 05, 2012


Our family LOVES music. Obviously. I play piano and clarinet and have been known to sing in a church choir or two. PWM plays acoustic guitar and bass guitar as well as doing sound for the worship team at church. In high school, he played clarinet, trumpet, and drums (but not all at the same time). Rosie Girl is outshining both of us musically, playing piano, acoustic (nylon string) guitar, ocarina, and clarinet (a little); arranging and composing music; and planning to study music composition next year in college. Wild Man is musical but managing to be different from us all. He plays percussion in the high school band. In the youth worship band, he plays drum kit, acoustic guitar, and bass guitar while on Sunday mornings, he and a few other teenagers lead worship for the children’s ministry.

Now that I’ve laid down our family’s music-loving credentials, I’ll tell you that the point of this post is to express appreciation for all the artists out there who are making beautiful instrumental music that continues to fascinate and inspire my children. When I was younger, I loved listening to Chopin and Debussy, but I doubt that there were many of my friends who shared such tastes. And, even with those tastes, I still didn’t turn to NPR or other classical sources for most of my music. Baroque and Classical didn’t do much for me at the time.

My kids, though, are loving a wide variety of musical eras due to artists like The Piano Guys. They’ve got some amazingly beautiful Beethoven and Bach reimagined musically and then videotaped in some amazing scenes. And then there’s the very silly Rockabel’s Canon (well, the video is silly – the arrangement is still beautiful). Even the pop songs sound less “pop” when done on grand piano and cello.

One of Rosie Girl’s passions is movie and video game soundtracks. She has several movie soundtracks that she can tell you the action and dialogue that is happening throughout the entire score. And explain why the composer made the choices he/she did. A couple of weekends ago, Rosie Girl and I spend a “Girls’ Weekend” in the Twin Cities and saw the Zelda Symphony. Because of the 25th anniversary of the Zelda video game series, the composers had put together the music of the series into a symphony. It was amazing! Rosie Girl and I loved it. And there were two harps!! The Zelda video games were what got Rosie Girl playing ocarina. In fact, at music camp this summer, Rosie Girl composed a piece for ocarina and piano.

These are the kinds of things that are getting my kids excited about instruments besides piano and guitar. I’m not sure Wild Man is going to be asking for cello lessons anytime soon, but I love that he’s listening to these “classical” instruments and isn’t turned off by them like so many teens have been in the last few decades.

When the kids were younger, I would put classical music on to play while they were doing their schoolwork. They didn’t complain. These days, they quite often have their ipods on while they are working and I don’t complain because they are usually listening to one of the soundtracks or Piano Guys. Generally, they manage to choose things that have a rhythm that helps them focus – especially good for Wild Man.

Music is not some accident of nature. It’s wired into us. Not everyone is as talented as my kids at making music, but I dare say that almost all of us enjoy it at some level. And God enjoys our making music. Entire families were devoted to making music in the temple. The whole book of Psalms is music to be sung to God – everything from laments to wild praises! And the New Testament also tells us to continue to sing hymns and psalms. All of this music is like part of nature – it points us to the beauty of God. And I’m so thankful.

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