Thursday, September 16, 2010

That's the Glory of ...

My daughters are all taking music lessons. They are taking lessons, not me ....

Big Little Sister is picking at the guitar.

Little Fire Faery is sawing the fiddle.

Precious is plunking the ukulele.

They are supposed to be practicing at least two hours per week ... which is only twenty minutes per day and totally doable. Little Fire Faery is totally into playing the fiddle, and she practices, but the other two ... not so much.

Big Little Sister is at an age when she should be encouraged to be responsible for herself, and so if she doesn't practice, it's on her, but Precious is still a wee one, and Deus Ex Machina and I are (and should be) still responsible for making sure she does what's expected of her.

In an attempt to encourage Precious to at least touch her ukulele, I pulled it out today. I haven't been paying a lot of attention to what she's supposed to be working on, but when I discovered the sheet music she'd been given, I thought "Oh, SO COOL!" and decided I had to give it a try ... and Little Fire Faery was gracious enough to indulge me with helping to make a video :).

For the record, though, I *am*not*a*ukulele*player!

... but I can do a decent imitation ;).

Other than the obviously self-deprecating humor of posting myself (and this very poor attempt at) playing the ukulele, there is a point I wanted make, and that is that survival isn't just about having enough food and potable water and warm clothes and a roof over our heads. Surviving means continuing to live, and there's just got to be more to life than simply eating and sleeping and .... well, you know. At least I hope so.

Life would be very sad indeed if the only thing we ever did was tend to the business of keeping our bodies alive.

In his books, Tom Brown Jr. states that after the very basics for survival are met (shelter and water), it only takes a few hours per day to secure food, and after that ... after that we need something else to do.

Human history is rife with examples of how people wiled away the hours before there was the Internet, television, and print. Music, stories, games, crafts ... all of these things are and should be part of the future we're planning for ourselves.

Which is why, we have a guitar picker and a fiddle sawer ... and someone is going to learn to plunk that ukulele.

But it probably won't be me ;).


  1. love it! love that song and totally agree that life has to be more than just survival in order to survive... I hope that made sense.

  2. Love the video :)

    I think it would bring a self-satisfaction, or a more independent nature. Like learning another language or higher math. It's great that you've introduced them to music lessons when they're young.

  3. Hope - that made complete sense ;), and is exactly what I mean. Glad you liked the vid. I imagine we have too much fun sometimes ;).

    Farmgal - I hope they'll keep up with playing, because as I keep telling them, if they can play an instrument, they'll never go hungry. They may never make a million dollars, which isn't such a bad thing, but they will always be able to scrape together enough ;). And they're learning French, and we're doing a math program as a family after dinner a few nights a week. So, I guess we have the basics covered ;).

  4. How true! In a world without the constant stimulation and distraction of electronic entertainment, talented musicians with acoustic instruments will be heroes.

  5. Very well said! I have friends who live on a farm a little north of Bangor who are phenomenal fiddle and cello players, and the cello player was recently telling me (he's a Doomer) that he's considering stocking up on a lifetime supply of cello strings. No kidding!

    I thought it was particularly fun that the main character of James Howard Kunstler's fiction work "World Made By Hand" is a fiddle player, and he references a lot of traditional tunes in that first book. Live traditional music plays a large part in the social lives of the townsfolk after the crash.

    If you want to keep your kids excited about their traditional instruments, bring them out to watch and hear adults having a great time playing traditional music. When I was a kid, I learned to play trumpet -- band music, and orchestra music. Then I went home and watched how none of the adults I knew in my family or any friends' families played trumpet in band or orchestra settings. But now, my kids watch me playing fiddle regularly at home, at our sessions, at contradances. They know it's a living, breathing music and art form, and there's a reason I play it. It's fun, they can enjoy it, they watch me enjoy it, they watch the audiences and dancers enjoy it. And then they's fun to do, and it's worth their time learning it!

    I don't think I know exactly where you're located, but if you're near Portland, bring the family to the weekly Sunday afternoon session at Brian Boru Pub near the Old Port for some fun and lively Irish music. Or bring everyone to a contradance -- those are happening all over Maine from south to north, all the time! If you happen to be in the Brunswick area some Tuesday evening, come hear us play contradance tunes at Byrne's Irish Pub from 7:00 to 9:00!