Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.
— Lao Tzu
When my oldest was an active, playful 18 month old, he asked: “Can I play violin?” That was one of his first full sentences.
We did not have a violin or piano in our home. I wondered how he knew what a violin was. I asked around, and other moms told me that children as young as three study violin. No one else I spoke to had a child asking to play an instrument.
During that time, we moved and I had our second son. When my oldest was three, I met a woman in my yoga class who was beginning a new group of 3- and 4-year old violin students in the fall. I asked her if I should take seriously his request despite his young age, and she said yes, of course.
I remember sitting outside in the sunshine on my deck, when I told my three-year old son that I was going to take him to see a lesson if he still wanted to learn. He said: “Mom, I’m sorry I’ve been so mean to you lately.” I was silenced.
My eldest sat calmly on my lap for 45 minutes listening to a chaotic double lesson with two siblings just back from a summer music camp in Colorado. He said not a word and barely moved, which was not his normal behavior at all. Eventually the teacher turned to me, and she said: “I forgot you were here, he was so quiet. That’s a very long time for a child his age, you don’t need to stay to the end.”
My son climbed down, walked up to the teacher and said: “That was the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard.” He had never heard live violin music before.
intense green eyes
unwavering on the strings
hearing with his whole being
My husband I had never studied music. Nine years after deciding to honor my young son’s wishes, my oldest and youngest play violin, my second son plays cello and drums, and all three play piano. My husband and I have learned some violin and piano as adults. In our house, we have three violins, a cello, a digital piano, a Yamaha piano, a marimba, a saxophone, a trumpet, an acoustic guitar, a sanza, a variety of drums, a cymbal. We have all played music together in several concerts.
The kids now see music as part of our lives. They are talented singers, in chorus and musicals, in addition to playing in orchestras. All three of my children make up their own songs and improvise by preference. Music has become part of the fabric of our souls. Perhaps it always was.
steel strings ring
my soul expands with each note
Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham
Inspired by the Weekly Ligo Haibun Challenge prompt, this one providing the quote at the top.