Posted in Parenting

“Jus’ play him a bit o’ music…” — Hagrid

From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, “Fluffy’s a piece o’ cake if yeh know how to calm him down, jus’ play him a bit o’ music an’ he’ll go straight off ter sleep –”

A few years ago, on a rather cold day (maybe it was raining?), when the children were inside and bustling with their usual energy, I was trying to figure out how to keep some modicum of calm, so I could finish dinner. Then, out of the blue, the line above from Hagrid popped into head. Music! Of course! So, I turned on YouTube, found one of my favorite groups, Anonymous 4, and started playing their recording of the Ladyman’s Mass (it’s so gorgeous!). I didn’t make a show of it. I just simply turned it on. Within a few minutes, once the kids were quiet just long enough to realize there was music playing in the background, things became a lot more calm around the house. Energized chasing turned into quiet play or reading. I smiled to myself and continued dinner. Since then, when things get a little out of hand, I turn on some Middle Ages to Renaissance or Baroque music, and it really does help keep it a bit calmer.

I love that my children have tons of good energy. I know that it is coming from a good place (I don’t load them up on sugary or overly processed foods), and that they need that exercise to grow strong. However, there does come a point at which it becomes “too much” for me, and those days tend to fall on days when they really can’t go outside to help burn it off. I have found some favorites on YouTube (you could also use Spotify) that work very well for my particular kids. Ancient music seems to be the trick. They are incredibly sensitive to very dissonant harmonies/harmonic structures, and to the ebb and flow of Romantic and late-Romantic music. This is a good thing overall, but not when their little systems are already fired up! A little Shostakovich or Bartok, and they will literally be running all over the house, shouting — sometimes in fun, sometimes not. In time, they will learn to deal with their big emotions. In the meantime, I do find that having some ancient-to-baroque music playing when we need a bit of peace is a great way to achieve just that. 🙂

Author:

I have been active as a freelance performer since 1992 and as a teacher since 1996. I currently serve as Second Flute with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic orchestra and have performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Winds, Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, Danville (Illinois) Symphony Orchestra, Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, Bloomington Chamber Singers Orchestra, and the United States Collegiate Wind Band’s European Tour, among other ensembles. I have also enjoyed performing for various occasions such as formal and charitable recitals as well as giving master classes at Butler University in Indianapolis and at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. I am also Adjunct Professor of Flute at Indiana Wesleyan University. I earned a Master of Music in Performance with Distinction at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England studying with Peter Lloyd and Laura Jellicoe. While in England, I played in charitable concerts for St. Augustine’s Catholic Church. I was featured as a soloist at the Pennine Spring Music Festival in Heptonstall, England in addition to performing in the music festival’s orchestral and solo events. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Performance with Distinction at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where I studied principally with Kathryn Lukas. While at Indiana University, I also had the incredible opportunity to study for several weeks with Barbara Kallaur on baroque flute, Donald Peck, Thomas Robertello, and Kate Hill. I am lucky to be the mother of three beautiful and talented children, and I play on a wonderful David Straubinger 10K gold flute with 14K head joint.

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