Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Book Club: The Hidden Art of Homemaking Chapter 3

Cindy is hosting a Book Club discussing The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer.  Please join us!

Chapter 3 starts with a push.  Music.  The 3 months of piano lessons I took ... my parents made me quit when I wouldn't practice.  Years of church and school choir ... I still can't carry a tune in a bucket with a lid nailed onto it.

Yeah.

I mentioned the other day that we went to a funeral for a friend's father. That is a musical family, multiple instruments, great singers, making music together and in performance.  At one of the girls' weddings, they all went forward and performed a piece one of them had composed.  I sit on the outside in awe.

Top 40 music is the music of my childhood. I still can sing along with most pop songs from the 80s (but I don't know who sang any of them!).  I hope to fill my children with something better than that. So, we do what we can to incorporate music.  It's kind of forced and it takes an effort on my part to accomplish it because it isn't part of my cultural experience.  If family music seems extra to me, maybe it will be more natural to them.

So we use CDs as accompaniment to sing hymns.  We still listen to Wee Sing America and other folk music.  It is not unusual for me to have the Classical Masterpieces channel playing from the cable network (they show me the names of the piece and composer ... I don't have to pay attention to the radio announcer that way).  I make my kids practice their piano and they're doing great. They're friends with the organist at church.

Opal Wheeler's books (published by Zeezok Press) on Composers have been a great resource for us this year, as have Classical Kids CDs.  They are more interested in the music if we've read about Handel and I say,  "This is a piece by Handel."

I'm thinking, again, about Pride and Prejudice, this time how music and those who are musical are portrayed.  Lady Catherine is not musical, did not learn, but must have her say.  Mary's piano playing can be compared with that of Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst compared with that of Georgiana Darcy compared with that of Elizabeth.  Mary's accomplishment was somewhat selfish: formal music, for her own glory - her only glory.  Miss Bingley and Mrs Hurst played to catch a husband; to be seen as accomplished in society.    The music of these three ladies was not really for the enjoyment of others or even themselves.  Georgiana played for the love of it, "she sings and plays all the day long" and had great talent.  Lizzie's playing may have been "very ill" through lack of practice, but her taste and performance were pleasing to those who heard it.  Neither performed for others, yet would play when pressed.  Music was, in general, for their own pleasure and that of the family circle.  I think Austen shows us the use of music in family culture as Schaeffer is teaching.

8 comments:

  1. I meant to mention Opal Wheeler. What a treasure her books are. We also had the Wee Sing America tape. Yes, Tape.

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    1. I'm loving the Wheeler books, Cindy. At the Cinci conference, Zeezok had a full curriculum with better music that they've been working on that looked interesting.

      My kids had some tapes briefly. :) My MIL still has some that she listens to as well.

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  2. I hadn't thought about the musical expressions in P&P, but you're right. It does show in story how music can be used poorly for one's own glorification or well for the benefit of others and even to glorify God.

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    1. I didn't really think about it much until I started that paragraph, Sherry. I'm coming to the conclusion that P&P has *everything* LOL.

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  3. I like your references and examples from Pride and Prejudice. My children and I have discussed how families had to provide/produce their own entertainment in eras gone by.
    Your post made me smile today, as I had been listening to the soundtrack from P&P this morning!

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    1. I'm not counting re-reading this year so am trying not to reread P&P. This is letting me think about it though :-)

      I think that distinction of entertainment made by self ... by the amateur instead of reliance on a professional is a real loss in our age. Nobody would have said I don't/can't sing in eras gone by; how many of us in just this book club have said it? It isn't because of professional singers, the talented have been recognized but I think recording and broadcasting changed the nature of music, how it's made, and our views of its purpose.

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  4. One of my favorite funerals ( that doesn't sound quite right but....anyways) had a new orleans jazz band and they played a wonderful jazzy march at the end of the service as we all left the sanctuary. I loved that so much. It expressed so clearly how I hope to feel when I enter Heaven.

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  5. Like Cindy, we also started out with the Wee Sing tapes. They wore out from use, so we eventually replaced them with CDs. The kids also enjoyed the Classical Kids stories.

    What a blessing to your kids that you are being intentional in giving them a richer musical experience than you had in childhood. I had a similar upbringing (Top 40 80's music), and I am thankful that I get to learn alongside my kids.

    Interesting insights to consider when I re-read P&P!

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