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From Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, we hear: “If music be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die.”

Do you listen to music? I find I can go some days without listening to music and realize it raises my mood every time I listen. It’s easy to go back to what I know but lately, I have been listening to Lady Gaga and Adele, then going back to the 90s and country music.

Our family’s lives were full of music. All kinds of music from Big Band, gospel, and pop music to classical composers and jazz, and of course, The Beatles! My father had an extensive collection of Big Band 78s and he stored them in our basement in Charleston. There were so many of them until Hurricane Gracie came through and flooded the basement. All the records were ruined. We were all very sad.

Not a problem, however, because my parents bought a record player in a console, a piece of furniture, and put it in the living room. We could play LPs and 45s on it and

we were always listening to music. One of the best times was decorating our Christmas tree. We’d all go to pick out the tree and Daddy would start to put up the lights. Mama made hot chocolate and Louie Armstrong would blast from the record player – all his Christmas carols and other songs he included on that album. We would dance in between ornaments and be silly the entire time. It was a joyous family time that we remember well.

My maternal grandmother graduated from Converse College around 1913 with a double major in both Piano Performance and English. We were all expected to learn piano or sing or play another instrument. My mother’s sisters all learned piano and one of them, Aunt Anne, played up until she died in her 90s. Grandma could still play her graduation recital pieces by heart just before she died at 100. Music does wind itself through many of my nieces’ and nephews’ lives; the tradition continues.

So, did I stick to it? Not as I would have liked. My children are both musical and wander through different times in their lives being able to play or taking the time to play. It is harder to treat yourself when you have a job, a spouse or partner, and children to manage. Yet, it is remarkable how music brings so much joy to our beings, to our hearts and minds. I find if I put on Pandora or Spotify, any genre, my energy increases, and I am motivated to work on projects or reach out to friends to get together. I encourage you to think about music in each day of your life.

Our piano has found its way to my daughter in California. I just asked to borrow my son’s keyboard which he has put away for a while. It would be nice to sit down and learn to play new pieces or sing along. I am on a Lady Gaga bent so would love to learn some of her songs, or Adele’s. I’ll let you know if I do it. Meanwhile, I play classical music while I work, Mozart and his era, and country music when driving. I sing along! All of this works on different parts of my body and I love it. I suggest you start to listen to radio or use your phone to play songs. You may get hooked!


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