Thanks to Nicole and Danae at the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center‘s CPAC where Terri Anderson Burnett works for inviting me to speak for one of their “Black History Month” events. I gave a talk and presentation centered on the topic “African Americans and the Vote“ and enjoyed learning lots while doing the research for this opportunity. A couple of years ago, I spoke at their “Martin Luther King Jr. Day” event.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
I enjoy discovering new facts while doing research to give talks, presentations, and even music clinic. What I learn each year during Martin Luther King, Jr. and African American recognition periods is always enlightening.
Having lived long enough to be a “Papa” and “Nana” (grandfather and grandmother) now, we’ve actually lived lots of significant and interesting “history” ourselves.
Ultimately, we’ve found that despite the inherentissues and mythswithin human society, the fact is that there is only one race – the human race. We are one family.
According to a Harvard study, music is indeed the “universal language.”
This and other contemporary studies reinforce my beliefs in this regard as well.
No matter where we’ve visited or lived in the world, we were able to communicate with others through the common bond of music. That’s cool.
On January 24, 2020, I had the honor and privilege of sharing research and methods with my colleagues and peers at the annual Missouri Music Educators Association In-Service Workshop Conference. Sponsored by MMEA and Conn-Selmer, Inc.
T went with me and we had a pretty good time together as well.
Our late motherVi Burnett was a major inspirational force to me, my siblings, and many others as well. I often think of the things she used to say at times when a situation brings her voice forward in my thoughts. Thus, she is quoted often in our family blog.
Mom Burnett was a renaissance woman – even before using the word ‘renaissance’ to refer to someone who had figured out most of the handles of their life was cool.
In the latter years of her working life, mom went back to playing the piano. Having had private piano lessons as a child, picking it up again was not an issue for her.
Mom eventually held the position as church pianist at St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church where we attended during the years after our family had settled back in her paternal hometown of Paola, Kansas. A minister of music.
That church no longer exists and most of the living descendants of that wonderful church community from our youth no longer reside in that city. But it remains significant to me because it is where I got my start in music singing in the youth choir. I eventually added woodwind instruments at school and mom encouraged me.
Our family attended Sunday school and church every week growing up, went to summer Vacation Bible School classes, participated in seasonal programs produced by the church, etc. We continued these type traditions with our own children too.
Admittedly, we have learned over the years that such faith is ultimately a personal choice, – but we sincerely believe in and live by Christian principles, pray in good times and bad, and over the years have learned that family is not always limited to people who are related to you by blood.
We have a great foundation.
Living it is not just about going to a church on Sunday.
It’s about Love.
Loving one another.
The Burnett Familybranches made up of our children and grandchildren add another dimension to all of this.
We are blessed to have so much love in our lives …
L – O – V – E
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
The little guy at the piano in the featured image of this post is our youngest grandson.
Like all of our children and grandchildren, he’s very “musical.”
But, there’s something special about him that makes me think he’s our next musician among our progeny and could likely help carry music into future generations.
He sings and hums to himself while doing most any task.
He moves to music when it’s being played on television or in real-time by someone on a musical instrument.
Whereas most people don’t hear the music that is going on around them like the underscore of movies, I’ve noticed that this little guy genuinely notices all musical notes – even those found in everyday things like the sound of a glass “clinking.”
He also actually matches pitch pretty well too!
It seems music is a natural consideration for him. I think he’s “our next musician.”
Both, T and I remember being like that too…
Letting them choose…
When our children were born we decided that they both would be required to learn a musical instrument. First the piano and then a band instrument which they would be required to play throughout middle and high school.
Our reasoning was sound because learning a musical instrument develops the brain in ways other subjects and activities do not. That was our primary agenda.
And people who know music in an applied context always seem to be more well-rounded than those who do not. I think it’s because they learned how to create art.
Both, our son and daughter were brilliant young musicians.
They were always among the best musicians of their generation and neither really worked too hard at it beyond playing at school or occasionally playing with us at home.
We really hoped they’d ultimately choose music like we did, and take it further.
Neither did. It wasn’t their “thing.” Although I believe either our son or daughter could have been successful as working professional performing artists and musicians.
Another true story…
Our daughter hadn’t played her flute for at least 10 years when we were visiting her at her family’s home one year and brought our flutes with us.
We pulled out some flute trio music and asked her to play.
She literally had to dig around the long-term storage spaces of her house for about thirty minutes before she finally found her flute.
When she found it we spent the next couple of hours playing trios and our daughter made less mistakes than I did. Brilliant!
I guess it really is “like riding a bike” …
I have told both of our children half-jokingly that we could have “made” them into musicians if we had wanted to do so and they would not have been aware we did it.
It’s sort of like the sports parents who get their kid a personal trainer in preschool.
We could have literally turned them into phenomenal musicians without their consent.
And we could have steered them into a career in the music industry as well.
We didn’t want to do that because we think being an artist is largely a choice.
Instead we took the path of teaching them applied music to a high level and then letting them choose whether to pursue it further from an informed perspective.
Neither chose music in that context.
But, that little guy in the first picture just might.