Music to My Ears


December 01, 2017

My 12-year-old daughter didn’t have to ask me twice. When she decided that the ukulele was the instrument she’d like to learn (just in time to cure summer boredom woes), I was more than ready to visit Spokane’s guitar shops. Discovering the ability to learn chords and play songs and create her own unique styles was as much a gift to me as to her. She soon was asking to frequent instrument stores just to sit and pluck on different varieties.

When school started this fall, along came the opportunity to learn another instrument: clarinet. Woodwinds produce beautiful sounds … once mastered. Until proficiency arrives, however, practice time can be a lesson in great patience. I remember this from hearing my older brother’s trombone and my sister’s clarinet, and from all three of us learning the same songs on the piano. How many times must my parents have heard us butcher Fur Elise, Canon in D or Minuet in G before we had done Beethoven, Pachelbel or Bach any justice?

They say “what goes around, comes around,” so now that I have additional children in my new blended family requesting time at the piano, I may be hearing those songs from young, frustrated fingers myself. There may be banging of keys, some squeaking and squawking on a clarinet and the occasional badly tuned chords around my home over the coming years. When the temptation arises to drown out the chaos with some soothing Spotify in my earbuds, I will remember that making music beautiful requires hard work and missed notes and clashing chords. I will focus on the gift of song and the magic it bears, lifting spirits, raising moods, setting the tone for every occasion. 

May every moment of practice be music to my ears.


Kate Vanskike-Bunch

Enjoy our MUSIC issue!