Saturdays are often a lovely day in this old house. Twice a year, during my eight-week online course, Saturdays are a time for grading the discussion board (group e-mail) and the Saturday papers. I love grading because I love reading how God worked during the week during the students’ engagement with the assignments. I click on a program called Sing For Joy (www.singforjoy.org). When that is finished, I switch over to Pandora radio (www.pandora.com), choosing from one of the many and varied “stations” I have created there. Right now, I am listening to one of my favorite Pandora stations: John Williams. He is the composer of many movie scores, including Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Jaws. I find his themes thrilling and his arrangements inspiring.
In this old house, we have a good studio-sized piano, a good “stereo” system that plays the radio, CDs and tapes (remember tapes?). We also have a small but good system in the kitchen for the radio, CDs, and tapes. Some of my favorite music is only to be found on tapes! We also have access to iTunes and CDs on the computers and other Apple products around. The ability to have or make my own music is present 24/7 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
Yet, often times, I work with no music on. Even in the car, it isn’t a given that I will have the radio on or a CD in the player. Maybe because my “day job” is as a Church musician. Maybe because my personality type needs silence in each day but I am quite comfortable with quiet, a quiet that is often filled with the noise of my own thoughts. I do know that I cannot write with vocal music playing because I end up listening to it and getting distracted from the words I am trying to put on “paper.”
The house has its own “music,” from the appliances to the creaks in the shifting ground underneath it. (We have no foundation, sitting just above the ground, part of owning a very old house that was not originally meant to be anything more than a summer cottage.) Yesterday, we had one of our “Chinooks,” the big warm winds that come in winter. They sing around and through the house with their own tune, especially through the windows that are still original and therefore, not as tightly sealed as newer ones can be. At night’s in the summer, the music of the insects and night birds sing us to sleep. In the winter, it is interesting to hear the muffling sound the snow makes.
The music of creation (see Job 38: 7) is still happening. In the Middle Ages, music was considered a science because it dealt more with acoustical properties than learning to play a musical instrument. In the last 20 years, music as gone from being something to listen to without distraction to something that is on everywhere all the time. Does that mean we like music more or that we like the sounds of nature or our own thoughts less? It is kind of a chicken-and-the-egg question. All I know is that music is a gift and right now, I am enjoying some as I type!