Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Symphony- Take One

We are music fans in this house. All types of music.

From Tchaikovsky to Tori Amos.
From Miles Davis to Metallica.
From Bocelli to Radiohead and so on.

We love it all.

Abby goes to sleep each night listening to They Might Be Giants' Here Come the 1-2-3's. God forbid something ever happen to that cd. The earth might implode. But that obsession is for another blog posting.

Once while playing with Play-doh and listening to the Opera music station that is part of our cable package, Abby suddenly stopped during a particularly melancholy part of the song to listen. Her breath caught and her eyes welled up with tears as the music crescendoed (is that a word?). She was overcome with the emotion of the song. (Does she speak Italian?) She took a deep breath and then proceded with her Play-doh sculpture. When I remembered to tell her Dad about it a couple of days later, he said she'd done almost the exact thing one day while playing with blocks and listening to Classical music. This shouldn't surprise me. Classical music makes me cry, too. It's just sooo beautiful! It makes my heart feels like it's going to explode.

We were recently gifted (thank you, D & M) season tickets to our local symphony and when Ab's dad was going to be out of town for the first concert of the season, we thought we'd try to take Abby to see the show, Beethoven's Ninth. Now we knew this was a risky venture. I prepared myself to leave early and prepared Abby by telling her,

"The music is going to be loud, but we have your ear plugs and you can hold your hands over your ears if you want to."

"It's going to be dark, but it's just like the movies and you will have your blankie snuggle and Mama will be sitting right beside you. You can sit on my lap if you'd like."

We bought her a new dress and new tights, which she adorably calls "pants socks". We got all dressed up and loaded into the car. As we were walking toward the Frauenthal Theater, I pointed out the lights on the building and Abby put a little more spring into her step. As we got into line, all the old ladies "ooohed" and "awwwwed" at my cute little girl. Men gave us skeptical looks, but smiled anyway and Abby exclaimed, "This is so exciting!" My heart melted.

We made our way to our seats and sat down. I tried preparing her by whispering everything that was about to happen into her ear. The lights dimmed and the concert master, Jenny Walvoord, entered the stage. Abby sat up straight and clapped enthusiastically with the rest of the audience. "The conductor will come out next.", I whispered. And when Scott Speck made his entrance, she clapped again. She looked so grown up and excited!

The lights went dark. I felt Abby get nervous beside me. I gave her her blankie and a snack and kept my hand on her knee to let her know I was there. Then the music started. And Abby panicked. It was so loud and the sound resonated deep in our bodies. It was more than she could handle. She was in the early stage of a full-blown meltdown. We hurried quickly out of the theatre and into the hallway. I tried to convince her to listen to the music in the hallway and then try again at the intermission, but she was having none of it.

"The symphony is scary!" she told me.

Oh my. Well I hope she doesn't feel that way when we try again next year or the year after. I thought she'd make it through at least a few songs, but oh well. I'd prepared myself for it. On the way home she said, "Thank you for driving me in the car to the sympony, Mama." I think she just enjoyed getting all dressed up and going to the symphony, even if we didn't stay for the show. It was worth it for me. And apparently it was for her, too. And besides... she loves her new "pants socks".


Trojan Gayle said...

What a lovely story, with a bittersweet ending. Glad to have you back blogging! Love your pictures as well!

Dani G said...

I always find gratitude in brodie's love of music. We, too, have a constant flow of eclectic tunes playing in the house. It's totally the way to go! My degree is in music, so I'm quite passionate about it!!
You can't teach another person about the amazing way music can affect people, their emotions. It is truly a gift that Abby already gets that!!

Also, god help the poor soul that ever tries to remove brodie's bedtime with the Beatles cd!!

Al said...

I think that sometimes the getting ready is the best bit of the night...

Im no expert on this topic but have you considered listening to the music with her in the dark to get her used to it? Just a thought :)

The photos in this post are just beautiful, she is the cutest little thing x

My name is Erin. said...

Trojan- Thank you! I really want to be more regular about it, but have so much on my plate that sometimes it feels nearly impossible to get it done.

Dani- It is beautiful, isn't it? I found that after I had kids, I stopped seeking out new music. I picked up new interests here and there, but I no longer seek it out like I used to. It's kind of sad, but slowly, and think kind of through Abby's music appreciation, I'm starting to seek it out again. So thankful!

Al- You're idea is right on point with my latest idea. I'm going to rent some symphony DVD's and play them in our basement family room with the lights down and the volume up. I figure if we do a few of those over the next year or so, we'll call it "practice for the real symphony" and then try it again next year. We'll keep trying. :)

familymann said...

It IS the experience, Erin. And the fact you shared the experience with her, no matter the outcome, says sooo much about HOW you love the people in your life....
Great job, Momma!!! You are amazing.

My name is Erin. said...

Thanks, Jenny! I try and you're right... it IS about the experience. I'm glad we did it and we'll try again next year. XO