To recap: I’ve always loved music. I lived in my walkman as a teenager and used those songs to express and expand what I was feeling. But I’ve never been good enough with an instrument to prevent listeners’ ears from bleeding. Then in 2000, I learned my unborn baby would die.
My mom came to support us that weekend, as did a close friend. I asked my mom to bring her guitar, and my friend ended up teaching me enough chords that I could stumble through several songs in Glory And Praise I. People deal with grief in different ways, I guess.
Glory And Praise I is perfect for the beginning guitarist. Most songs use only five chords. “Isaiah 49” uses only D, G, A and Em, making it the “Lightly Row” of guitar method. 🙂 Played with a capo, “Only A Shadow” uses nothing but A, D and E.
Later I bought the guitar and got real lessons. I wanted Emily to hear music before she died, and I only had another 20 weeks with her. It was tough, but concentrating on the chords gave me a momentary reprieve from dwelling on my dying daughter. A couple of years later, I was able to go play a rather haunting melody at her gravesite on her birthday, just me and the big empty silence of the cemetery.
Plus, lessons were $15 for half an hour. Therapy would have been $90 an hour, and at the end, I wouldn’t have a useful skill.
Guitar had one huge advantage: chords. At the top of the music was “D” or “G” or “Em.” I could read that! My instructor also taught me guitar tab. I’m not the best mathematician, but I can handle 1, 3, 6, etc.
I played guitar through the pregnancy with Kiddo#2 as well. Sometimes when she was little, I’d put her in the sling, then play so the guitar was right up against her back. Her eyes would get very big, and she’d go still.
From sheer exhaustion, I stalled out on guitar while pregnant with Kiddo#3, so I quit lessons.
Was it worth it anyhow? Absolutely. Kiddos #2 and #3 have a deep love of music. They can make up songs on the fly to tunes they already know, and they both knew how to clap on the beat by 18 months. Part of that is due to Music Together, but I attribute the love to having heard it early and often. Kiddo#1 plays saxophone, but I don’t see in him the same love and drive, and certainly while he’s getting ready in the morning I don’t hear him doing what Kiddo#2 did, singing to the tune of the Ode To Joy:
“Momma, I will brush my teeth now,
Then I think I will get dressed.
Will you pack a snack this morning?
I don’t want to eat hot lunch.”
Beethoven is rolling over in his grave, but I’m thrilled with joy.