Finally…Fiddle! by Rebecca Irish
Fiddle is Music Together®’s Fall song collection this year!
Finally! I have been waiting for
this collection since my family’s second semester of Music Together. The reason I
have been eagerly awaiting the Fiddle collection is that I dabbled in fiddling
as a young adult. I actually dabbled in
singing and playing guitar as a younger adult too, and I dabbled in flute in
middle school band. I remember sitting
on the steps in front of my college dorm with my new guitar in my lap. I said to my friend who was giving me a
lesson, “There is music inside me.” I
remember feeling awed at that realization—awed and uncomfortably full of this
powerful force that longed to be unleashed and expressed.
But there’s a reason I used the word dabble in all three
instances. Time and time again I let
life circumstances and self-consciousness serve as scapegoats for my musical
self-sabotage. And yet I have compassion
for myself. Picking up a musical
instrument as an adult is incredibly challenging logistically (read: time,
money, scheduling) and even more challenging psychologically (read:
vulnerability of being a beginner, self-criticism, self-consciousness).
Tonight I counted my Music
Together songbooks and realized that Hays has been through six semesters of
classes! In one of them I read “eighty-four percent of the population is born
with enough music aptitude to one-day play in a symphony orchestra.” That both blows my mind and also seems
completely plausible. I feel in my gut
that in our culture we suffer from musical self-deprivation. Somehow, singing and dancing have seemingly
become reserved for the “stars” and the rest of us have been relegated to spectators.
I can imagine the music that I still feel is inside of me
might have found an easier and earlier exit if I had received the message as a
young child that I was inherently musical, that music was fun, and that singing
and dancing were things that people did together every day (as opposed to karaoke
singing and club dancing, both of which are often induced with a little liquid
When we enrolled in the Music
Together program Hays was just under a year old, quite large, but not yet
walking. For the dancing portions of
class I would heft him up again and again; my sleep-deprived body would bounce
and jiggle him around the room, singing all the while. I must confess during that first semester I wondered
what the point was. But he soon started
walking and classes became easier. Then
he went through a phase where he would cry hysterically in the car and Music Together music was absolutely the
only way to calm him. Soon after, I
realized how much he liked to have jam sessions at home, playing along to the CD’s. It became clear he had favorites, as he would
totally light up and go crazy for certain songs.
That was nothing compared to the past two semesters during
which time Hays just absolutely blossomed.
He has a blast in class, but I mainly notice it at home. He sings all his favorite songs, and
improvises special dance moves for each.
He belts out tunes as he “plays” an actual keyboard we have set up at
his height. He has begun making up his
own verses to songs and even rhymes sometimes!
And the most recent musical wonder I’ve beheld is how he will sing out
his play. My heart melted as I witnessed
how music was facilitating his creativity, his imaginative play unfolding with
What I’m struck by most is how comfortable our whole family
has become with music. My husband and I
sing at least one song to or with Hays each night before bed. We’ve coined countless little ditties that we
sing while we change diapers or clean up, or get in the bath. We sing songs about being together. We chant nonsense words. We clap our hands and stomp our feet creating
rhythms. I feel like music helps us
express ourselves more richly than if we were limited to speech; and I feel it
helps us release and/or process stronger emotions or pent up energy.
I feel so joyful and proud that music has permeated our
family culture and is a large part of our day-to-day activities. I harbor regret that, while I actually get
great musical satisfaction from singing and dancing in Music Together classes and at home, I have yet to fully liberate my
stifled musical expression. But this
regret melts away when I experience Hays’s musical development, because I know
that Music Together and its role in
our family life is helping create a foundation of musical comfort and confidence
upon which my son can build in whatever way he chooses. - Rebecca Irish