Musical Instruments

Months ago I chose this topic for the LBC Group.  I had one particular person in mind when I did so.  Alas, the group has shrunk for many reasons in the interim.  I extend warm healing hugs to those with health issues and pray for a speedy recovery and return to the fold.  Others distracted by family, love, exams, or work I would love to see you join us over the holiday time.

Musical Instruments

One of the many nuns in the school I attended was in charge of Scraping!  In other words Scraping was the subject taught by Sr Mary Gertrude.  She had a tiny room at the top of a flight of stairs right above the main front entrance to the school.  We thought she was old.  We only discovered how ancient she was when Mammy met her at a school concert.  She taught my mother back in the dark ages!  Mammy told us she was old even then.

So “What is scraping?” I hear you ask.  I think it was supposed to be violin lessons, but it was sure hell to listen to, scawling cats make sweet music compare to the sounds from behind the door of Sr Mary Gertrude’s music room!  My ears have never recovered.

Saying that… There is nothing I enjoy more than an orchestra of very young Primary/Junior school children playing on stage.  The concentration on their faces as they watch the conductor, read the music and play the instrument all at the same time, is tear jerkingly wonderful.

I never learned to play any instrument, but there are two incidents in particular that stick in my mind.

About forty years ago while walking across O’Connell Bridge in Dublin as the sun was setting in the distance (in the direction of the Guinness Brewery), I stopped to enjoy the scene.  At that precise moment the sound of a French Horn drifted towards me, it was so hauntingly beautiful that I was transfixed to the spot.  Standing on the Halfpenny Bridge in the centre of my my sunset, stood the horn player in silhouette.  I fell in love with life that night and all my troubles evaporated.

During Jack’s last weeks, he was an inpatient at Northern Ireland Hospice Care.  On a regular basis a lady volunteer arrived in the afternoon with her Lyre.  She would sit in the Corridor and gently play for the enjoyment of patients and staff.  It had a very relaxing and comforting effect on everyone.  When conditions allowed she visited the rooms and sought requests from patients or their families.  Her repertoire was vast and much appreciated.

Finally, the other day I came across this recording of one of Nature’s wonderful natural instruments that I hope you will listen to and enjoy.

11 thoughts on “Musical Instruments

  1. Nancy


    I enjoyed reading about Sister Mary Gertrude and the “Scraping” sounds of a young student learning to play the violin.

    When my Grandson,Quentin, was 8 years old he began to study the saxaphone.

    His Mother called me one day and said,” I don’t know how much longer I can stand this…He has to practice for 30 minutes every day and he only knows four notes.”

    That was seven years ago and now Quentin is in the School Orchestra and plays the saxaphone beautifully.
    It pays to persevere….

  2. wisewebwoman

    I am a piano player, my daughter is a flute player and my granddaughter played the trumpet last week in The Distillery District in Toronto. There is nothing like being able to play a musical instrument for too many reasons to list. It should be compulsory for every child.
    (strong feelings about this? Nah, what made you think that?)

  3. Grannymar Post author

    Nancy – Good for Quentin sticking to the practice sessions like that.

    WWW – I couldn’t carry a tune never mind an instrument!

  4. nick

    What a wonderful idea, playing a lyre for hospice patients. I’m sure as you say it had a very soothing and tranquil effect on those listening to it.

  5. Baino

    I couldn’t make your link work. Having had a trumpet player and drummer in the family, I’m not sure I share your love of children in orchestras.

  6. gaelikaa

    It is sad that our consortium has shrunk so much. Musical instruments can be great memory joggers and it can bring back memories to just hear a few bars.

  7. Alice

    Heeeeeee! We just got our five-year-old granddaughter a small electronic piano for only $15! Our hope is she discovers that she can make her own music as she loves it so much in performance–even when a 3-year-old, she’d sit still for the longest time watching someone sing or play music. Already I’m worried a little how this will affect her parents, as they’ll be the ones to suffer most. We keep hoping we’ll get a musician in the family some day, since my arthritis prevents me from being it anymore! Crossing our fingers!


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