Late one night recently I came downstairs for some water and was surprised to see the basement door open and the light on.
Putting my (hearing impaired) ear down the stairway, I heard the soft strains of music. It was Will, keeping a lonely vigil at his organ in the night hours. Will’s love of organ has become a single focus in his young life. I find him in the family room listening, listening, listening to organ performances on YouTube and on CD’s and spending hours alone practicing in his basement hideout.
What does a 17-year-old young man find in music written so long ago? The answer is that he finds in it the same thing that the composers did, and perhaps only serious musicians who write or who play the music fully understand what that is. We who love to listen to music understand up to a point. Those who can look at a page of black squiggles and markings and translate that into glorious sound understand and love it at an even deeper level. At least that’s what I think.
You can’t give love of music to a child. You can create an appreciation and share what you know, but passion for making music is something inside a person. It’s either there or it’s not. Will has been surrounded by good music from before he was born. When I was expecting him, I used to lie next to my boombox and play classical music from Bach to Stravinsky. I thought it couldn’t hurt to give a preborn babe some music appreciation. Then he accompanied his father to trumpet performances at churches all over. He sat through a Skylight performance at age 6 in the orchestra pit and never moved an inch the whole time. He was taken to the Chicago Symphony and Milwaukee Symphony and many other concerts. He has heard musicals and operas and symphonies of all kinds. But ultimately, his own love and desire to make serious music has come from inside of him. And only God can give that. Nobody can take credit for the interests and gifts our children have, whatever they are. We can only try to be good stewards of them.
In a world where entertainment media dominate so much of our children’s lives, it was a glad moment to realize that Will could be satisfied late at night, with only God and himself, making music on his organ.
(I found this music on his desk today! I’m not sure what it is, but it looks a little challenging.)