Music is in all of us, it is a natural inclination.
We pause for the songs of nature, we sing along with our favourite tunes.
We naturally hum to a baby, to lull the child asleep.
Such is the power of music, that stories where passed in song, and it is said that the Bards of old could bring down a King with the wording of their songs.
Armed with this knowledge I entered into the Musical Arena, metaphorically, to learn how to play an instrument. The Instrument of choice, an Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer, the sound of which has been with me for decades.
I was a child of Eight or Nine when I first heard the voice of the Mountain Dulcimer and Hognose Psaltry. It was at a craft village, only a small one, a converted barn I think. Along half the building was a second floor, with a natural wooden balustrade at the edge. I can still remember the draw of the music being played, the siren like enchantment accompanied by a soft golden glow from the lights in the rafters. I remember climbing those stairs, the smell of wood increasing with every step, each one getting me closer to the music. Not a one had I seen before, from the pointy Bowed Psaltry to the unusual Hognose and to the soft curves of the Dulcimer, all exotic in my eyes, I remember all seemed to glow, with a life, a pulse. The mystery of the instruments was intensified by being able to see them being built, right there on a wooden table, sawdust spilling onto the new floorboards.
No electronics, no cogs, nothing to make the noise, just wood; thin pieces of wood around a wooden frame. Kit forms of the instrument were also available, but alas my birthday money was not enough, so I saved it until next visit. The next visit I was excited, all I wanted was one of those instruments, to climb those stairs,and I had the money. The man and the music was there no more, he had moved on. A part of me never did.
Many years later I have managed to buy a Dulcimer, a good one, and for a year it has sat in my closet, because I struggled with plucking, strumming, timing, rhythm, too be totally honest I just sucked. I still do, my breakdown has robbed me of many things, music is one of them. I don’t think I have even sung in the car in the last seven years.
But I have that memory of climbing that stairway toward the music and so I will climb this stairway to create a new memory of playing the music.
You never know, maybe a child will hear, remember and find strength in the memory of music, like I have.