Cindy of Ordo Amoris is hosting a book club discussing The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer. Cindy has hosted other book clubs from time to time, and, although I read along, I have never been inclined to join in the discussion. The participants are cerebral and articulate, and I consider myself neither. This book, however, has drawn me in, for homemaking is a subject that is near to my heart.
In Chapter 3 of The Hidden Art of Homemaking, Edith Schaeffer praises the merit of music in the home, not for the purpose of "performance," but for enjoyment and enrichment.
For me, music has always been an integral part of family life. My parents love many kinds of music, and many was the night that I drifted off to sleep listening to music playing out in the living room...Eddie Arnold, The Bill Gaither Trio, Willie Nelson. Although neither Mom nor Daddy played instruments, that did not prevent us from having "live" music in our home. There were two sisters from our church who sang and harmonized beautifully, one of whom played the accordion, and they would come to our house, sometimes with a cousin, and they'd sing and we'd all sing and make music together.
In my own family, music has also been important. We have required that each of our children takepiano lessons for at least one year, to learn the basic building blocks of music. Our son Ryan considered it penance and counted the days until his year was over, but later bought his own guitar, took lessons, and still finds joy in playing. Kati continued her lessons a little longer than the required year. Both Kristin and Bekah loved (and love) to play the piano!
Among my favorite memories are a few family singalongs that we have had. We gathered music books, old and new, plopped them in front of my niece Amy (piano performer/teacher/lover), and sang hymns, church music, oldies, Disney, until we could sing no more...literally hours!
Other singalongs have been more impromptu. One Thanksgiving evening, when some of Ron's extended family came over for dessert, Ryan played Christmas songs on his guitar, while Kristin played her flute, and everyone sang along. (As an aside, 4-year-old Kati "played" her recorder. She only played one note, but her rhythm was right on! We still laugh about that!) Another time, we all visited Ryan and his new wife Sarah at Christmastime, and sang with Ryan's guitar and Sarah's and Kati's harmonicas. Good times!
Hymns are an important part of our home life. We have many recordings of hymns for listening. (But who can listen without singing along? Not I!) We also sing hymns as a part of our school day, striving to memorize the words. We sing a hymn before we eat our Thanksgiving meal. We often ask Bekah to play a hymn or two at holiday gatherings.
Classical music is also a part of our school day, and we enjoy listening as well.
Music: another one of the "hidden" arts of homemaking.
More thoughts on music in the home...