While growing up, there was nothing more sacred to me than this beat up little radio. I don’t think there wasn’t a moment when I didn’t want to have it turned on. I remember trying to take it in the shower with me when I was young and my mother screaming to stop me before I electrocuted myself. A range of artists including Nirvana, Celine Dion, Beethoven, and Kenny Chesney where frequently heard to be blasting out of my tiny speakers. I soon came to regard any musician with a sort of idealizing reverence for their talent.
With this mentality I took up playing the flute in my schools’ band. Here each student is instructed to be accurate, to watch the director for the accelerando, and most importantly to listen. We have to listen to ourselves for intonation and we have to listen to the other members in the band to make sure we had a decent balance between instruments. I find that it is especially hard to listen for chords, which is a key part of tuning. When you listen to a chord, it can be classified into four generic categories: major, minor, diminished, or augmented. In addition to that, there are three sub categories that make up the chord. These are the root, the third, and the fifth. In order to know how to play in tune, you have to know which part of the chord are you and how that element balances to the other sounds. Any musician knows that our ears are what make a song beautiful.
My teachers, that is, my flute and those singers and musicians who taught me through the radio waves, taught me an invaluable lesson. You know how I’ve told you listening made a song sound better? Listening to people will make a relationship better. It sounds basic, but few people actually take the time to do it. Most people my age are wishing for that strong family bond that we see in episodes of the Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch. But it seems that as there are fewer and fewer re-runs, there are also fewer fathers to tuck their kids in at night and fewer friends that will have your back no matter what. These 70s sitcoms are fading from our TV. stations, but listening to one another is not out dated. You can have a family that are in tune with one another, simply be listening to each other.
Personally, I can see my relationship with my mother growing stronger because of the skill that I learned in band class. We can understand each other and make healthier decisions. Our conversations don’t always have to end as an argument and I know that I have someone who will always love me because my mother will always listen to me.
I believe in listening. A lot of problems can be solved that way.
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