Monday, October 22, 2012

Name That Tune

“Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song, and I’ll try not to sing out of key.”
"With a Little Help From My Friends" Lennon/McCartney

I can name that tune in 3 notes, sometimes less. Really, I’m pretty good at it. My mom’s side of my family tree has music in their hearts. Whenever we get together, someone sits down at a piano or pulls out a guitar and starts to sing. We can’t help it⎯music seems to move us and comes from somewhere deep inside.

My Grandpa John seemed to be attached to his accordion. That is how I picture him today even though he died many years ago. I think he was happiest when he was with his family making music. We would all sing and play various instruments, and he would smile from ear to ear no matter what kind of sounds we were making. When I was a child, I wasn’t the performing type. I did what was expected of me at family gatherings, but it just was not my thing. I was much more comfortable with a baseball mitt in my hand, lobbing pitches over home plate or swimming down the stripes of a pool. Nonetheless, my mom made sure we were exposed to many different kinds of music, and seemed to always have music playing in our home as we grew up. Many nights I fell asleep to a stack of records playing in the background of my dreams. 

Whether oldies but goodies or rock and roll, song verses from somewhere in my past history come to mind when just a note or two, or a word or two float through my head. My husband says it’s a bit scary. Recently we were scrolling through Netflix movies, and I saw the title, Once a Jolly Swagman, roll by. Immediately my “Name That Tune” mind started searching words like an old jukebox listing in my brain. I said, “That movie title is in an old song.” My husband looked at me and just shook his head. I could not let the name go, and before you knew it, I was singing "Waltzing Matilde," …once a jolly swagman sat beside a billabong… Just a few weeks prior, in the background of a movie we were watching, I could barely hear a group of children singing some sort of tune. I started singing along but could not quite get the whole song to come to the surface. Low and behold, before I went to bed, I was belting out "The Gypsy Rover,"...ah dee doo ah dee doo dah day...

Music can set the beat of whatever I am involved with. Like the stack of records of my youth, I have music swimming in my head while I’m gardening, cooking, showering, skiing, running, and of course swimming. I have a tendency to hum and sing a little tune when I am happy. Although, I have found that planting a seed of a song when I am not so happy has a tendency to give me a lift.

Scary as it may be for my husband, the gift of music in my heart is happiness unfolding in a song. It is this can’t-help-it kind of happiness I embrace as each note leads to another. More of us need to let our voices sing and celebrate⎯whatever the song may be. The momentum of the song will lift your spirit and help move you through turbulent times. Name that tune and let music guide you through your dayeven if you do sing out of key. My grandpa would love it!
Music notes picture courtesy of Koji Minamoto