A few short weeks ago we honored our Veterans on Veteran's Day.  In lesson planning for that week I thought it would be fun to use a Military march for the play along and loaded a few into my iPad to choose later.  My first class of the week was on Veteran's Day itself and without really thinking about it I put "Stars and Stripes Forever" into my playlist.

The first class embraced the play along with vigor, quickly turning it into a parade of parents and children!  I found myself tearing up, NOT because the volume was deafening, NOT because it was a beautiful moment in a beautiful class, but because of the flood of memories this song brought to me!  

When I was in college, the band always ended their concerts with a rousing performance of this timeless piece.  I wasn't in the band, but from the time I was a child and had the opportunity to hear them, I loved it!  I remember concerts where it was the piece that woke me up when I'd fallen asleep, tired after a busy time visiting my Dad's Alma Mater.  I remember being a new 4th grade flutist, dreaming of playing the piccolo solo!  Over the years that my entire family attended Luther College I was always quick to clap along with the audience when the band stood to play the final refrain!

As a student at Luther I traveled to the USSR in 1989 with my choir.  Upon returned from a visit to countries where there were few personal freedoms, I felt a strong sense of pride for my country.  Despite the intense frustration I feel  with our politics etc, I still feel the stirrings of a patriot when I hear the band begin to play!

My daughter now attends Luther College and while like her mother, she is in a choir rather than the band, she will hear this piece over and over.  As I watch my little ones parade around, I thought of her living in a place I love, experiencing some of the same musical traditions her Dad and I did.


What songs hold  your memories?  Music is present at some of the most powerful times of our lives ~ there is a reason that the song on the radio brings a tear to your eye or a wave of nostalgia...

When I run into children who have long outgrown my classes at the grocery store or the library, their parents will say "Don't you remember Miss Jane?"  Most of the time they don't.  If I sing a little "Hello, Everybody!"  the look of recognition blossoms!  Our auditory memory is SO DEEP.  While your children will most likely not "remember" the experiences of being in a Music Together® class as a baby or toddler, they will "remember" the feeling of joy and happiness they felt making music with you.  When they become parents they will find themselves singing a lullaby, but won't know why they "know" it.  They just will.  It will emerge from their subconscious to create a sweet nest to hold their child's new memories.



For a more in-depth look at the power of music and memory, read Karl Paulnack's, Dean of the School of Music at Ithaca College, welcome address to incoming students to the Boston Conservatory of Music.  https://www.bostonconservatory.edu/music/karl-paulnack-welcome-address