Thursday, April 10, 2014

Start the Music!

This little singer is one reason I keep accompanying at school. While this Grandma thinks that Miss Kinley is advanced for her age, she wasn't quite ready to join the contingent of soloists at the middle school music festival we hosted yesterday at Stafford Schools.

When we Skype with her, singing songs is part of the routine.

"Grandma sing," she encourages as we give a rendition of "Mary Had A Little Lamb" or "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep."

"Grandpa sing," she insists as we sing "ABCs" for the third time.

She's a girl after my own heart when it comes to music. 
A photo from the archives, June 2013
This is my 19th year accompanying for Stafford Schools. Sometimes I wonder why I keep doing it. I especially wonder it on days like yesterday, when it was Heart of the Plains League middle school music festival day. I didn't have nearly as many accompaniments to play this year. But, for this Type A perfectionist, I still want to do my very best to accompany the students who've made the commitment to music this year.

I love music. That's why I do it. I certainly have no illusions that I am the most competent accompanist around. The paycheck I open each month doesn't come close to covering the gas it takes to drive to town, the interruption to the day or the investment of practice time at home that is never covered by a time sheet. So I look at my time at school as community service and a way to share my love of music with others.
Music isn't really about black notes on a white page. It isn't just about breathing correctly (though it certainly helps). You can know the right fingering to play a "C" or "D" on a baritone or saxophone and still not truly make music.

True music is found in telling the story through song. It's a story that's told at middle school music festivals ... and at high school contests ... in church choir lofts .... singing in the shower ... or belting out songs as you drive down a country road.  

Long after these middle school soloists have forgotten the words to the songs they sang yesterday, I hope they'll remember a piano player who sat beside them, who cared about them, cared about the music they were making and wanted them to do their very best. 

I doubt that Kinley will ever live close enough to me that I'll get to accompany her at a middle school music festival. But I hope there will be some other accompanist who will be on that piano bench, cheering her on. 


  1. Kim,
    I am willing to bet that there is a middle school student or two that have been touched by your efforts and musical support. Keep up the good work sharing your passion for notes.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Mrs. E! Does your "Bug" like to sing?

  3. Are you hiding that piano in your basement?

    1. Ha! No, the brightly-colored piano is at Cool Beans in Hutchinson.

  4. I still remember the words to some of those middle school vocal solos! :) I was SO thankful for the encouragement I received to take a baritone solo to contest my last couple of years of high school. That success (I received a I at state.) helped me decide to pursue continuing in band in college. After 5 years in marching, pep, and concert bands at K-State, I couldn't give up playing! So, I joined the community band in the city I moved to. I made great friends. I moved again...and again. I now get to play in the municipal band in my current town each summer and sing much of the time at home to my children's delight (for now). :) It's such a gift! Thank you for your service and commitment to sharing your love of music!

    1. Thanks for saying how music has impacted your life, Dana! That's what I hope to get across to students. It can provide enjoyment and satisfaction for a lifetime - whether you're just singing at home to children or grandchildren, playing in a municipal band or joining a church choir.