Monday, 4 August 2014

The "Musical" Mother {bringing harmony to the home}

Have you ever been to listen to an orchestra play?  I have had the privilege of being to several live concerts, including ones at The Barbican and the Royal Albert Hall, in London.  They were all amazing experiences, and I would love to go again.  At the Royal Albert Hall, we were on a limited budget, so we sat in the choir stalls. It meant that we ended up sitting BEHIND the percussion section, which was AMAZING! We got to see them perform, REALLY close up, and heard the music in a totally different way - and with a totally unique view!

What we also got to see, with more detail, was the conductor.  In essence, we got to see an "orchestra's eye view" of what he was doing. One of the pieces was conducted by the composer - Karl Jenkins! It was pretty amazing to not only hear a piece, but to see the composer, too.

Have you ever PLAYED in an orchestra?

THAT is a totally different experience. I used to play the violin. NOT very well, but well enough to make the cut to enter the school orchestra. I also went on a music camp, once, where I got to play with a better bunch. I loved playing as part of a group.  What I quickly came to realise was the importance of the conductor, and how much of a difference it made to the orchestra, when the conductor changed.  We had two different music teachers who would conduct, and they were both quite different in how they did it.  A piece of music could change change quite markedly, depending on which one of our crazy, but lovely, music teachers was taking the lead.  To the untrained eye, ANYONE could be the conductor.  The reality is quite the opposite. It's not just someone waving a "stick" around, whilst people merrily play their "part" in the orchestra.

I'm no expert, but as a teen I had a friend who trained at music school to be a conductor.  My friend and I went to watch his final exam, and we were told all about what it all entailed.  You need to know the piece of music inside out.  You need to understand how the composer wanted it played.  You need to know how each instrument plays, and what the musician is capable of. You need to have a complete understanding of the whole package. It's no simple task.  Yet, it's VITAL.  If an orchestra attempted to play the music without a conductor - no-one to lead - it would just end up being "noise", not music! They would play at different paces, at different volumes, and it would sound bad at best, horrendous at worst. (On a side note, our school orchestra was pretty awful, despite frantic and frustrating efforts of our conductor! - I can still hear the Radetsky March being played woefully, in my head!)

One day, I took my children through a local town, and there was a play area. It had big "stepping stone" type things, which if you stepped on them, played a kind of whistled "note".  They realised it was musical, and all hopped on one and jumped up and down.  A whole rabble of noise ensued, with the children quickly saying "What are these FOR Mum?  They don't even play a tune!"

Mother, with her musical background, begged to differ.

I lined them up on a "stone" each, and directed who should hop when. After a few practices, this is what we got...

For those foreigners who are not familiar with this, it's called "The Westminster Chimes".  You may have heard it on a clock, and it's what plays on the chimes at The Palace of Westminster, in London (Big Ben plays the chimes for the hour).

When the children realised what we had re-created they were so pleased with themselves! They also thought I was very clever for noticing. ( I love my children!)

Life as a mother is so very like this.  Each of our children makes a different "note" in our family.  Their strengths, weaknesses and personalities can sound just fine on their own, but sometimes when they all get together, it can become an inharmonious jumble.

It's our job as a mother to create harmony in the home. To prevent squabbles.  To help children work together happily, instead of bickering. To encourage children to work on their strengths and eliminate weaknesses. Helping them to have good attitudes, instead of sour ones.  Many, many things that will help bring harmony.

First of all, I need to make sure I understand what "music" I want them to play.  What does God's Word say about how we should all live, and how they should behave?  I need to fully understand that, before anything else can happen.  He is the ultimate "composer", and we all need to follow His lead, and have a life that sings out in harmony with the "tune" of His perfect will.

Then, I need to understand my "Instruments" and how they are "played".  Each child has a unique personality.  They may have traits that are not sinful on their own, but need to be honed to prevent a tendency towards sin. They may simply have personalities that need shaping, encouragement, or guidance, in order to be their best, and have a harmonious relationship within the family.  If I don't know my children properly, I could provoke to wrath, and encourage the wrong traits, if I don't take the time to get to know them properly. If you understand each child's limits and capabilities, you can make sure you don't push them out of their comfort zone, but gently encourage them to improve and develop.

Then, there needs to be opportunity to "practice".  Spending time together as a family, in order to work on areas of weakness.  Maybe a couple of "instruments" need time to practice together? You can't just throw a load of instruments together and hope they'll "perform" at the right moments, without practising first! So, if you want children to behave when you are out, they FIRST need to behave at home!

We can help each "instrument" shine, whilst still blending with all the others. Bring out their best.

I KNOW we need more harmony in my home.  I need to be a better conductor, and by God's grace, work on make my family "sound" beautiful, and not a noisy "racket"!

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