Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. - Plato
Back in the day, when I was young and thought I knew everything, including whom I was going to marry, a wise man told me to fill my home with music. Music, me? Those two words did not belong in the same sentence. As a very young girl, I had wanted to join a singing group, but had been asked to leave by the director who considered me tone deaf. As the oldest of seven, my parents had not felt there was enough money at the time for me to take piano, violin or accordion lessons. (Thank goodness on the last one.) My Grandma Cook did teach me the fundamentals of reading music and I learned to pick out melodies on the piano. This was done in exchange for helping her with her housework on Saturday mornings.
I had always found ways to have music as a part of my life. I have written before how I loved to listen to my mother as she played the piano and when she accompanied local singers. Broadway musical were a staple in our home - Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Music Man, Oklahoma, Camelot and the list goes on. When I was in junior high and again in college, I took music theory classes. Much of the focus was on identifying rhythms and transposing music. While others struggled, I found it made sense to me. This was like math, there was a logic and beauty to it. I could sit for hours and listen to all kinds of music. Music spoke to my soul. It helped me make sense of emotions and experiences that were often confusing. It helped calm me or channel my energy. Good music made me feel complete.
So how did this counsel change my life. Each time I dated someone I would pay attention: Did they sing the hymns in church? What music would they listen to? I would ask questions: Did they play an instrument? Did they like musicals? Did they want to go to a concert?
These questions all factored in to my desire to marry Rick. With him I found someone who loves music in all its varieties as much as I do. And our house is filled with music. It has not been easy, but we have made sure that all of our children play at least one instrument. Hunter can dance and plays trumpet, baritone, french horn and piano. I love when he is home and our house is filled with his playing the piano, especially on a Sunday morning. Wil plays the trombone and most percussion and can play the melody line on the piano in a pinch. He also can dance. Jon dances, plays a variety of clarinets and saxophones and the guitar. Lela plays the violin and the piano. Emily plays the piano and dances. All of them sing along with their dad, who can still muddle through on his trumpet and loves to help with piano practice.
But more important than the symphony our family could perform on its own, music has brought us closer together through rehearsals and support at recitals, concerts and just playing together at home. Together, we have attended plays and concerts and enjoyed watching the same musicals I enjoyed as a child and have added new ones such as Pirates of Penzance, Beauty and the Beast, Stomp and Riverdance. Through music our children have been blessed with amazing friends who helped them make good choices and avoid many of the pitfalls of adolescence. They have found that music can calm them when stressed, inspire them and provide inspiration. They have found a sense of accomplishment as they perfected a difficult song or reached that high note.
Even as I write this, Lela is practicing the piano, singing and Jon is whistling along. Last night I listened to Lela practicing her violin in one room, Jon in another on his guitar and Emily at the kitchen table doing her homework and singing. How grateful I am to that wise counsel and to the love of my Heavenly Father that let those words resonate with such power in my soul.
Here are a couple of our current favorites for your enjoyment: