“Write about a character who was raised in a musical family.”
– a prompt for this week’s CW piece.
“F#!!!!” came from every corner in the house. I’d missed it, and everyone knew it. My mom taught piano and organ, my dad taught everything in the winds and percussion instruments. My dad could play every assignment I was working on by heart. Mom had perfect pitch and had to transpose it to Bb, but that didn’t slow her down. My brothers figured that if I’d made a mistake in that particular exercise they had a 2/3 chance it was an F#. Most trumpet tunes won’t go more than 3 sharps, and they could tell by the tune about what key it most likely would be. There was no escaping it.
My Grandma played the “Mother of the bride” for me at my wedding because my mom was playing the organ and my dad was directing the brass quartet. My mom’s grandmother was her “mother of the bride” because her mom played the organ for her wedding.
Our family played for Easter and Christmas and Reformation Sunday. Mom would arrange the music…2 trumpets, French Horn, Percussion (sometimes drums, sometimes marimba) and pipe organ. We sounded magnificent with those acoustics and mom’s arrangements.
All of us kids studied music in college–Morningside College and Illinois State for me, and Eastman School of Music for my brothers. Sooooo I was the black sheep. One brother taught at Kent State in the Percussion Department, and the other played Horn in the Pittsburgh Symphony. I got fired from every music job I held.
My folks were nice enough. “Oooh She’s a financial genius! She runs her own business!” I worked fast food to keep my studio open. I quit Fast Food to become a stockbroker (hence the financial genius) and got fired from that job. Then I joined an even bigger financial company and built my Dad’s portfolio up to where he was spending $2000/month out of his annuity and getting $2400 in interest. But I had to teach music. I was addicted. I reopened my studio in my house. The difference was that now, due to my financial business, I didn’t have to teach the kids that said, “I’m only here because my Mommy Makes ME!” Those went away really fast! My dream was to get some of my students into Eastman, but that will never happen. Dream crushed. My wish was to be able to bring in a 6 figure income from my financial business, but the desire to succeed was weak there.
I play every instrument. I sing. I speak 5 languages. I can discuss science, math, English literature, Renaissance Literature, Renaissance History/geography/culture. I have co-authored 5 books. I’m a Distinguished Toastmaster, but I’m still the black sheep of the family. Since Mom and Dad and one of my brothers are no longer living, the only one that knows that is me. My little brother doesn’t know I’m the black sheep.
But because I am a musician at heart, I can know and do all that other stuff. Music teaches you how to look at everything around you and to listen intently. Get your kids into music, then study it yourself. If you have a good teacher, the world will open up for you.