Our musical life | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Our musical life

As I sit here at my computer, Bria and Joel are playing a game together. I feel pretty confident in saying that it isn't likely that your husband plays this particular game with your children, although I won't rule it out entirely. This game consists of Joel taking Bria's violin and playing a Christmas tune on it, and then handing it over to Bria to see if she can repeat it.

You should know that Joel may be an orchestra teacher/professor, but he is not a violinist. And yet, he plays the instrument fairly decently when you take into account that his primary instrument is the trumpet. You should also know that he has two of the world's best ears, and though Bria has my unfortunate eyes, she also has his blessed ears. (I do not have great musical ears, it's something I've had to work really, really hard at, and was the bane of my existence in college.)

Guess what? He's gone through Frosty the Snowman, Away in the Manger, Winter Wonderland, The First Noel, Carol of the Bells and several others and Bria has been able to play them all back with minimal mistakes, and also in the same key that Joel played them in. She amazes me daily. For instance, the other morning during her practice hour she kept asking me what song she should play and I started throwing her for loops and saying things I knew she hadn't learned on the violin. Just hymns and Primary songs mostly, but she was able to play them all without a problem and without stopping to figure out notes. Even when I thought I had her by asking her to play Turkey in the Straw, she totally came through (and now plays it nonstop, I might add). I must say that it's a good thing she inherited my lack of focus and organization, or she'd be some crazy prodigy violinst playing in Carnegie Hall next week. Oh, wait, maybe that's a bad thing?

Chloe started on the violin at age 3, just like her sister, but she was a spectacular failure. Not because she couldn't do it, but because she wouldn't do it. The fact that she refused to learn Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star after a year plus of lessons is proof of this child's amazing stubborn streak. So, we quit. I wasn't happy about it, but we finally felt that it was a giant waste of money we didn't have in the first place. She showed some interest in the piano, so I started to teach her a little myself and she enjoyed it, but we butted heads quite often about musical principles, so we stopped. Because she was wrong, and I was right, but she refused to accept it.

Well, she's been pestering me to take lessons again, so I found a teacher and we started up on Tuesday. I'm crossing my fingers that she will think her teacher is amazing and wonderful and believe everything she says and be excited about practicing and not refuse to play things just because. So far, so good. She was excited to do her theory worksheets and couldn't wait to practice something, even if it's just playing all the C's and D's on the keyboard. Oh, and she adores her teacher so far.

So, today, I'm thankful for music. It has blessed my life immensely, in many different forms. I'm thankful for the opportunities I've had since living here to perform a bit more, simply because it is a small, but artsy, town. I'm excited to solo with the Messiah chorus this December (all y'all better come see if you live within an hour of Cedar) and also to solo with the women's chorus at the Christmas concert (ahem! See above). I'm glad that my children also love music (even if they can be stubborn about it) and have been blessed with musical talent.

I can't wait to see what kinds of music we can make as a family as our children grow a bit older. We will have so much fun!

34 comments :

  1. Wow. I feel very schmuck-ish.

    My four-year-old has been begging to learn the violin for two years (really!), but Brazil doesn't provide a lot of options. We're planning to start lessons when we move back to the States - and piano, of course.

    But right now I just feel very not-helping-my-children-culturally. Thanks for renewing my motivation!

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  2. Music is amazing and does bless our lives daily. Your family is so talented with music. We will miss having that extra talent in our ward.

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  3. Music is wonderful. Good for you for providing opportunities for your children to play music. It will bless their lives and give them confidence.

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  4. That's just amazing. Wow. I've had to scrape for every bit of musical progress of my own. I have a very bad ear. How cool for your family to have such a great grasp of music.

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  5. Wow, that's great. Sounds like she's going to go far with her musical talent. Lael's been asking to play the violin since last year but I thought 4 was too young for the amount of money. Maybe this year....or next. :o)

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  6. I LOVE music!! I took violin for about 2 years but then I got lazy and quit--I REALLY wish that I wouldn't have!!

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  7. The piano is one thing I wished I'd stuck with as a kid...so make her practice, so she has no regrets later on.... :)

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  8. I love music too...one of God's gifts to us.

    What a talented family you have !

    We went thru the violin, trumpet and piano phases with 5 kids and none of my kids can play anything but they are still grateful that they all had the opportunity to try an instrument.

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  9. That really is a blessing--incredible! I did take violin lessons for a while and have a "good" ear, but I was already an adult when I started and was only able to pick out one or two songs on my own, and haltingly. I have done the same on the guitar but I have zeroknowledge of musical notes and theory--I used to be able to read music when I was playing violin but have forgotten all of it (and it was only about 8 years ago!). So, again, what a wonderful wonderful thing!

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  10. Wow, what an amazing story! I studied piano formally from age 3 on up to adulthood, and my parents supported me in my artwork my whole life, but we never did anything like that together.

    I'm so glad you and Joel are giving this gift to your daughters—what a blessing for all of you!

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  11. I don't even know Turkey in the Straw! Yes, you have amazing kids.

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  12. It would be so fun to start a little family band!

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  13. So I should be looking for Bria to hit the big time here in about ten years or so? Is that what you're getting at? :)

    That's amazing and I'm only the teensiest bit jealous...

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  14. My only claim to music is that I press "PLAY" really well.

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  15. Your home must be amazing during the holday season, with all the beautiful music.

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  16. I'm not sure I know what Turkey in the Straw sounds like.

    What a great game for them to play together! Hope Chloe sticks with the piano.

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  17. I have a terrible ear, at least I think so, but both my kids have a good ear for music. Who do you have teaching Chloe now? B goes to Sis. Haggerty in our ward and she is doing a great job teaching him piano, he loves it. S is really excited that she and Bria play the same instrument to.

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  18. I wanna put Jonathan in Violin Lessons. Is it hard for them to learn? WHo is Teaching Chloe piano?? Good luck with it. I took piano when i was a kid and got "sick" of it and my mom let me quit. I know regret it because i can BARLEY play.. :( YOur family is adorable and VERY musical!

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  19. i've always wanted to learn the violin!

    it's never too late to start, right?

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  20. I wonder where you got that???

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  21. I'm seeing a Lowe family in the making. Perahps even the Duttons. Ooo-la-la.

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  22. You guys are amazingly talented so I'm not surprised at all that your kids are. What a blessing!

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  23. Very talented family! I just got a GREAT idea! What are you doing on Dec 20th? I need some entertainment for my family Christmas party! Having people holler out songs to Bria to see if she can play them would be awesome! JK. Only B/C you live too far.

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  24. you seriously have to come over one night for pizza and music! seriously!!!

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  25. Lara, Thanks for coming by my blog!:)
    I loved this post, your daughter is amazing! I wish my kids had inherited some musical abilities, but I have "that kid" in primary...you know, the one who yells at the top of his/her lungs on one note. I guess they get an "A" for effort.:)
    -Mandy

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  26. I've been playing my flute by ear for the kids this week. What's funny to me is that I tend to play things in the key they're written in. I didn't think I had that much of a pitch memory. I'm not so great at finding the intervals though!

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  27. Wow that is fantastic about Bria. She amazed me in so many ways in the short time I knew her. I wish my musical talent at the piano came easier for me.. but it's something I really have to work at. Shellise is doing great with the Viola in Orchestra at school and with Granite Youth Symphony. She learned so much from Joel. We sure miss having him as her teacher.

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  28. The musical talent in your household is through the roof!

    (Von-Trapps maybe?)

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  29. My kids are definitely going to learn to play the piano and the guitar...I think!

    anyway...I came over from Crazyland's post and your ODE to Elphaba...I loved your costumes!!!

    Fun blog and talented family! Very lucky!

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  30. You do have beautiful children and a fun blog to read. Thank you for the comment and for sharing your experience with me, it helps to strength my testimony and helps me know that others struggle with some of the same things I do.

    Thanks again and feel free to stop by again. I would love it!

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  31. This entry reminds me about Christian's love for music and how I want to get him piano and singing lessons. He's 4 now. Maybe next year? (and I know what you mean about the candy corn teeth that you commended about on my Day of the Dead entry! Just because the student used the template doesn't mean they weren't creative! lol I love seeing these type of ideas and humor come out in projects.)

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  32. I am insanely jealous right now... your home must be friggin' amazing during Christmas!

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  33. Phill was given piano lessons when he was probably 7? Anyway, he told the teacher, "If you make me play Mary Had a Little Lamb I will quit." She wasn't very adaptable or easily amused, tried to "make" him do it and he quit! :) He did play the trumpet briefly. :) Anyway, I loved reading this--you know I grew up in a musical family (don't you?) and so much of what you write is familiar and feels like home and makes me think that maybe I ought to take my cello out of the dark cold closet and play it. Provided the poor unused strings can be tightened to tune without breaking. *sigh* Seven years....long, long time.

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  34. COOL game...that is really amazing she can do that...as for piano lessons...I have NEVER wanted to teach Kelley. I think it would just be too much for both of us. When we get to that point I think we'll find someone....

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