I can’t recall a time when music wasn’t a part of my life. Even before I was born, my parents were singing and playing guitar and piano. Music moves us. Music motivates us. Music soothes us. Music reminds us.
Even though I have never been a true “rebellious” girl, I did enjoy rebelling in my own way. I stood my ground when I was in high school. I was NOT going to major in music. I was NOT going to teach it. I WAS NOT! To this day, I still cannot tell you why I was so adamantly against this career path. Well. Life is funny. That career path found me. I knew I wanted to be in the therapy field, so I tried occupational therapy, physical therapy and then respiratory therapy. I was always within 1-2 people of getting into the program. I finally gave up and God reminded me of all the mentors in my life who suggested I major in music. Music therapy, specifically. So after 2 years of college, I did it. I majored in music. It lit a fire in me. I have now been a music therapist for 16 years! More recently, I decided to venture back into teaching music, and I have found that same fire again.
So often I hear people say, “I can’t sing in tune, but I love music.” Or “my daughter would much rather hear you sing to her than me.” Or “I wish I didn’t quit piano lessons.” And I’m here to tell you something: It’s never too late!
Our “star” culture has caused us to believe we are not good enough to make music anymore. American Idol, Star Search (go 1980s!), The Voice. . . .all of these make us feel less than. If I’m truly honest, those shows make me feel less than too. They make us feel like we need to be amazing in order to be heard. Don’t listen to that. It is not true.
Babies can recognize their mother’s voice while in the womb, and once they’re born, they can be soothed by the same music they listened to while in your belly. Because of this, your voice holds a special place in their memory. They don’t care if you sing in tune or not. You can put a professional singer beside you, and they will prefer your voice every time. They simply want YOU. Because they know your voice.
Find YOUR voice. Not Carrie Underwood’s voice. Not P!nk’s voice. But YOUR VOICE! Don’t be afraid to sing to your children simply because you don’t think you sound good enough. Do it anyway! Instead of spending your time listening to music, spend time actively making music with your family. Sing your child a lullaby every night. Teach them the songs you learned as a child. Doesn’t it just sound warm and fuzzy already?
I am passionate about bringing music making back into the home. We are a very musical society, but most of us are music consumers rather than music makers. A century ago, singing around the piano was a normal activity for families. No one had to live up to the American Idols on TV. They just sang and enjoyed their time together. And we should too. Making music in a group is a bonding activity. And it’s a vulnerable activity. Give it a try sometime. Break out the old guitar. . . . .or just play a recording and sing along. . . . .or take your child to a family music class . . . . . . or try out a drum circle. Whatever you do, just SING and MAKE MUSIC! It is good for the soul.