Wednesday, July 14, 2010

All day yesterday and most of today I have been thinking about the centrality of sharing music with others. I know of too many families in which music has become the dividing line between those who "can" and those who "can't." There are so many ways to participate mutually in music without skill being an issue.

The best way is to start young, as with everything else. But that means that parents would have to accept the possibility that they could relax and enjoy some playful noise making, not necessarily with pitched instruments, not necessarily with right notes or wrong notes. For many people this seems like a bad idea. But it's not.

When my children were young we had a daily routine. No matter what anyone's mood or disposition we all joined in to play games with songs. We clinked on water glasses and sang. We rang little bells and drummed on drums. It was always a time of letting everyone's hair down and simply enjoying sound together. Was it music? It must have been. Those little bells and water-glass-type sound effects are central to my daughter's compositions. And not just hers: I hear them frequently in the works of other avant-garde musical creators.

The time to start is now.