Music is really important to me. This isn’t true for everybody, but most I think have a special space where it fits into their lives. I have lots of spaces for it. It’s fundamentally part of my identity, and when asked recently by my daughter which sense would be the worst to loose, I don’t hesitate when I name hearing. I’ve had two ear infections in my life and they were both purgatory.
It goes without saying that music was an integral part of my growing up. There was always something playing in the house, I learnt, we were taken to gigs from toddlerhood. I didn’t choose my childhood best friend for her musical abilities, but she was/is incredibly talented. My grandfather was a pianist. Not trained, but could play anything by ear, and the highlight of our visits for me was sitting and listening to him play. Interestingly though, my parents were not musicians. My mum always regretted giving up learning the piano as a child, my dad taught himself the penny whistle, which was typical of my father, he was a clown. We had a game, that we played, he and I. Between us we had committed a huge catalogue of music to memory, and so we could hear something new and take the tiniest riff, or quirk of keyboard sound, and place it. They say no music is written that hasn’t been written before and we had the proof of that off to a fine art. Now occasionally I’ll recognise something I can’t place, which is when I miss him most. Nowadays, 90% of my friends, all of my children and my husband are musicians.
For me music is highly evocative. Each piece will have at least one of not several memories attached to it of people (mostly), places, events. I can be walking through a shopping mall and suddenly break an ear to ear grin or sport a little dampness of the eye and it will be because of a strain of something I’ve caught walking past a doorway. My friends learn to excuse the rapid changes in conversation if ‘background’ music is playing while we’re talking. They know it’s not a reflection on their importance to me, and in fact most of them will be thinking on similar lines.
I consume. I have my favourites (numbering in the thousands) which I constantly fall back on. Music is a crutch, a motivator, a companion, a life force. I’m constantly seeking out new music, new artists, inquiring, investigating. Live music is incredibly important to me. I’ll find it in the pub, take all the children along to festivals, and host gigs in my own home. I make music too. Primarily I’m a singer, though my childhood training included some decent grades in flute, piano and saxophone. I sing backing vocals for friends, have sung lead and BV in various bands and duos, am currently singing the girl lead for a band called Western Sky, and also sing in an unusual contemporary choir (unusual in that although we call ourselves a choir, we’re not at all choral), and help lead a children’s choir numbering often around 80-strong although we have peaked at 150. I have the most amazing vocal coach. I say that with all authority, as after I had taken a child-break from lessons, her schedule was full, and I tried five or six other coaches, none of whom came anywhere close to matching her. Thankfully a slot opened up which I haven’t relinquished again since! I love to be challenged and to be learning new things in all walks of life and singing is no exception. More recently I’ve started writing too, scratching an itch I’ve had for most of my adult life. We’ll see where that leads.