ear drum blastin...

i was raised in a sort of a state of music shizophrenia. 

my mom always, ALWAYS, listend to christian music, (the occasional 70's music would creep in there... but this was very rare)  many childhood memories are laden with the voices of sandi patty, amy grant, micahel w smith.  twila paris, steve green, and accapella ring through my ears, their lyrics in my head like it was yesterday.

my dad never listened to christian music.  now, as a pastor, i still think he rarely listens to christian music.  it's just not his style.  classic rock, classic country, modern country, and his one christian music exception, southern gospel.  i can sing you nearly every bob seger song, and i am pretty sure the cathedrals was my first concert.  queen, the steve miller band, johnny cash, elvis.  this is the playlist of my childhood.

my mom and dad never agreed on music, and when a trashy rock song would come on the radio in my dad's car, my mom would beg him to change the channel, and not listen to it around us kids.  of course, we had no idea what the song was saying, or that it was trashy.  but a mother's desire is always to protect her children from anything that has the potential to be harmful.  many conversations were had about music in their house.  but nothing ever changed.  when dad was there, we listened to classic rock and country albums.  when mom was there, it was almost strictly local christian radio.

there was one thing they did agree on... without them present to change the channel if a song was inappropriate, i was not allowed to listen to modern radio stations on my own.  this rule lasted until 5th grade, when i begged to listen to a normal radio station.  they approved 2 or 3 stations that i could listen to on the radio.  sheltered, much?  and i got older, i was free to discover music on my own, i was free to find music that spoke to me, and hear it bang inside my head, press against my eardrums.  i was free to feel music, and free to love music.  i found music a shelter, a home, a way for me to express myself, express my joy and my pain, express my awkwardness.

my parents, while they did not agree on music, both enjoyed music.  it spoke to them, it touched them, different styles, in different ways, but it touched them just the same.  music was always present in our house.  the radio was on, an album was being played, my mom was singing us lullaby's or songs of encouragement or silly songs. 

my mom always sang with the choir, and in various singing groups.  my dad even sang in the choir at some point, but i am not sure how he ever made it... man can't carry a tune to save his life.  his love for music was enough to get him in the choir.

they taught us how to sing.  they taught us an appreciation for music.  they taught us how to allow the music to speak to us.  (i have blogged about music before, you can click here to see just one of those posts.)  i believe music is one of the most powerful channels in which to speak, in which to communicate.  it can touch people in a way that simple words can not.  i believe in the power of words and notes and beat.

and i owe that to my shizophrenic music upbringing.  all that music, all that different music, all that disagreeing about music, allowed me to feel music.  it allowed me to discover music, all kinds.  it allowed me to love music, all kinds.  it made me appreciate a world where i can listen to whatever music i want, where we can write whatever music we want.  it made me sing.  it made me dance.  it made me find solace, and joy, and sometimes pain, in the magic of music.  music has helped me feel... all my life.

i found a boy to marry, who loves music.  who allows music to touch him, to make him feel.  and together, i believe we will raise children who also love music...  someday asher may write about how mumford and sons, and coldplay, and neil young, shaped his love for music.  about how his grandma singing to him brought him solace, about how his grandpa's rock n roll made him want to play the guitar.  maybe... someday... who he will be is still a mystery.  i wonder what he will remember as the soundtrack of his childhood.

i will always find solace in the soprano voice of sandi patty.  classic rock will always make me sing and dance.  and i will always be grateful for parents who loved music, and passed that love to me...

and tuesday night, matthew and i will head downtown with my brother and dad to enjoy a bob seger concert... and lose ourselves in the music for just one night.  i will emerge that night, a 27 year old married mom, who is who she is, partly because of who she found in the music.  but for a moment, it will seem like i am 5 years old sitting in the back of my dads car, singing along to old time of rock n roll, eyes closed, and voice blaring.  for just a moment, i will exist as a 5 year old girl, searching for herself in music.


  1. love this. and i kept picturing how this could be written about other things, too. like religion, or politics, or anything your parents try to shape but in the end you don't know what is for you until you discover it on your own.

  2. Love love love love love.

  3. Sarah Anne14:37

    I will always love Sandi Patty's voice :)

  4. Karen F.14:44

    Bob Seger was one of my first concerts ever..........He performed at Soldier Field along with Peter Frampton.............Man am I old!

    Have a blast, great writing Melinda!

  5. First, let me say I love Bob Seger and wish I could have been with you guys. Your mom and I saw Sandi Patty in concert many years ago, probably in the early 90's. I will never forget searching for our seats and this woman came up to your mom and was just certain that she was Sandi Patty. The lady was so excited... it was kind of sad when she realized that she wasn't! I remember thinking that your mom's singing voice was even better than Sandi Patty:)


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