I had my first “live” music experience in grade 2.
Half a school year had passed and the sun started to shine again when Mr. Trudeau walked into my class carrying a guitar case. I had never seen someone make music before with just their voice and a guitar. Mr Trudeau sat on the piano bench and faced all 40 students now huddled together on the carpet staring with expectant faces straight up at him. He began to strum and sing with a clear voice that allowed us to absorb every word. I sat in awe. His guitar had a worn patch under his strumming hand and he smiled as he sang. Over many weeks we learned new songs that we had never heard before. Good bye Fred Rogers, I will miss you Friendly Giant, move over Mr. Dressup and welcome in Mr. Bob Dylan, Original Caste and Friendly John Denver. Over and over again we sang “Blowing in the Wind”, “One Tin Soldier” and “Country Roads.” Mr Trudeau brought music to the foreground. Music was no longer stuck in a radio. Music became a living smiling happening.
After I broke my ankle (for the first time) on Halloween I felt disappointed to say the least. I could no longer go trick or treating with my friends in the neighbourhood. To ease the emotional pain my mom purchased my very first album – Shawn Cassidy’s Do Run Run. I could barely contain my excitement that evening as I listened to his familiar and new melodies, looked at his feathered blond hair all the while swooning over his blue eyes. It made Halloween 1979 very memorable.
My mom would later introduce me to many significant music personalities that included Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone, KD Lang, and Patty LaBelle. The gospel sounds continue to reach my soul at a deep level every time I hear them.
I remember one time when she heard a song that she liked and started to jive around the kitchen. I mocked her at the time, feeling mildly embarrassed for her as she moved forwards, backwards, all the time her arms flew around her – (this is the same woman who would later endure my less than dignified performance of “Crazy for You” by Madonna donned in lace fingerless gloves, a short skirt and high heels).
Everyone has a soundtrack as unique as we are ourselves. My mom’s kitchen dance gave me a view into her past. A past that started before me. Witnessing my mom express herself through music gave me new insight into her. It revealed a person who liked to have fun even before I came along.
Music highlights significant events in our life. All music. Live and recorded. Bring music to the foreground and ask yourself:
What does your music say about you?
What music makes you feel your best?
What music takes you back to your innocence?
What music makes you feel fun?