people used to cringe when i told them that all three of our kids played a musical instrument. i used to get a lot of “how can you stand the noise of them practicing!?” i never thought of it as noise and it never bothered me. i liked hearing them play. i especially liked hearing them improve.
it was always funny to hear the reaction of people who happened to call during practice time. i think they expected me to tell the kids to stop (like that was a good idea… if you get them started on practice you’re certainly not going to interrupt them!) but i’d continue with the conversation. sometimes they’d ask to call back.
anyone who’s ever had a kid start up on an instrument will tell that it’s painful to listen to them until they get kind of good at it. our kids just took to playing as soon as an instrument was put in their hands, so our pain level was maybe less than most, still they had their share of squeaks, squawks and unnatural sounds.
we’ve had flute, clarinet, piano, trumpet, bass, guitar, ukulele and drums. not all at once. only a couple at a time. i learned more music from listening to them than i would have otherwise.
C and i always had a house full of music. all kinds of music. that was important to us, still is. i had music hour every day when they were little. we had play instruments and basically made a lot of noise, but we mostly danced to music i put on the stereo. some nights C would play dj and spin a whole variety of stuff while the kids and i danced.
as they got older, 15 minutes of practice time turned into an hour or more. i don’t remember having too many fights with them about practice. (they probably remember differently) they figured out pretty fast that practice meant they could move on to play more interesting music.
usually C and i sat and read while they practiced, or made dinner. it’s an interesting window into them. you can learn a lot about your kid’s personality, temperament and work ethic by listening to them practice.
the house is quiet now. i still miss hearing them play especially when i listen to music i used to hear them practicing. we’re trying to catch on of J’s concerts at school or one of the many gigs he plays, but the timing is always off. we’re able to see L play to accompany her chorus kids (we’re the old folks in the back busting with pride) E just got off the road from color guard in drum corps so we’ll be bugging her to let us hear her play her new guitar.
i never thought of their practicing as noise but if i had, i’d now regret it. the silence now is deafening.