I’ve been a music lover for as long as I can remember, both as an amateur musician and as a listener. Some of my earliest memories are of music, muchly compliments of my folks (jazz) and my older sister (The Monkees, The Beatles, then darker stuff like Aorta and Black Sabbath). I went through phases as a teen, jazz, bluegrass, pop and rock. Never really got into the harder rock or industrial, nor heavy metal or punk.
Music continues to be a big part of my life, whether it’s the guitar in the family room inviting people to pick it up and strum or the keyboard and drum set in the basement where I’ll occasionally go down and practice some riffs and rhythms or work off some tension. My children all play instruments too, though none passionately. Both my girls are cello players (that’s my younger girl, K-, practicing cello in the photo below), and my boy has bounced around and most recently played saxophone. When he wasn’t playing Xbox, that is. 🙂
The thing about music, whether it has lyrics or is just melodic, is that it not only helps set or create moods, but it also often reflects where we are in our lives. You know what I mean, you’ve had a hard day and a weirdly apropos song comes on, or a particularly poignant tune pops into your head and is stuck, an earworm that might just have some meaning for you in its lyrics.
As a film critic, I spend a lot of time listening to movie soundtracks. As I type in this sentence, for example, I’m listening to the stirring and (yeah, somewhat) anxiety provoking soundtrack from the powerful film Captain Phillips, composed by Henry Jackman. Why soundtracks? Because they’re some of the best compositions out there right now, written specifically to be evocative and utilizing instruments ranging from full orchestras to tin drums and trash cans.
I also suggest that some of the best contemporary composers are creating soundtracks and that the very best of them are extraordinarily evocative. In fact, I bet I could play the first seven notes of the Star Wars soundtrack by John Williams and you’d be singing and humming it for the rest of the day with a smile on your face.
The tie-in here is with the company Music & Arts, an online firm that sells musical instruments and related. It’s fun to listen to good music, but making music is something deeper, something that touches our soul, whether it’s singing Christmas carols, whispering a favorite lullaby to get your child to sleep or pulling out your axe to jam with friends and neighbors.
My personal history with musical instruments is varied, more than the instruments in our house might suggest. At various times I have played tri-toms in a marching band, clarinet in an orchestra, jazz flute with friends, and drums in a college rock band. I’ve sung in a choir and even dabbled, ages ago, with a Lyricon, a woodwind-based synthesizer, along with dreaming about buying a Chapman Stick (look it up!) and Kurzweil synthesizer system. All definitely at the amateur level, but all very fun too.
How about you, dear reader? What instrument or instruments do you play or wish you played? What did you play when you were in school and kinda wish you wouldn’t have given up on as you got older?
And don’t forget, you can always pick up a new instrument at any point too, it’s not just something for children to learn! In fact, that’s why I like Music & Arts and their wide range of musical instruments.
Music & Arts, holiday gifts for music lovers. Check it out, change someone’s life for the better.
Thanks to The Network Niche, this post is sponsored by Music & Arts.