By: Winnie Yu
When my kids were at the tender age of 3, I thought music was so important that I signed them up for music classes. While my husband introduced them to The Beatles, the Pixies and the Rolling Stones, I took on the task of musical training and coaxed Samantha and Annie into taking piano lessons. Samantha never took to the piano; she went on to play the flute instead. Annie fell in love with the piano and added the trumpet to her repertoire.
But something happened on the way to teaching my children about music. I rediscovered my own love of making music and began to play my flute again. I started by picking up my old lesson books, and then I bought some new ones with orchestral accompaniments on a CD. For a while, I played alone in my living room.
Then, six years ago, I finally mustered up the courage to join a community orchestra. The first night was sheer terror. I hadn’t played in a group setting since my sophomore year in high school. I’d forgotten how to count long rests, and I fumbled my fingering as I attempted to play the new music. Trying to keep up with the other musicians -- who seemed so much more skilled -- left me exhausted by the end of the night.
But I went home, practiced and returned the following week. I’ve been playing with the group ever since.
These days, my weekly orchestra rehearsals are as entrenched in our family schedule as Annie’s piano and trumpet lessons. Every Monday night, I rehearse with 50 or so other instrumentalists. We play classical pieces, show tunes, jazz and anything else that strikes the conductor’s fancy.
For those two hours, I am totally absorbed by the music on my stand and the sounds around me. The soul-stirring string section. The rhythmic pounding of the percussionists. The throaty sonorous sounds of the bassoon. Even counting the beats during a long rest have become a form of meditation.
Twice each season, we perform for nursing homes, senior centers and the public, bringing our love for making music to an audience. It’s volunteer work, done from the heart.
Playing music has taught me how important it is for moms to make room for hobbies in their busy lives. Whether it’s playing an instrument, scrapbooking or enjoying any other hobby, moms need an activity that takes them away from their daily duties and lets them focus on something they can do strictly for pleasure, not obligation.
So take time to think about what you enjoy doing, and then make the time to do it.
is Completely You’s mom blogger. She has two daughters (Samantha, 14, and Annie, 12) and is the author of seven books, including New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding and What to Eat for What Ails You. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Woman’s Day, AARP Bulletin, Prevention and WebMD.com.
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