Original writing done on 9-23-06. I did four small pieces for this because they were each different first experiences with music.
I’ll start with my first dance because it’s one of my favorite memories with my family, one of my favorite memories from Elementary School. It as my aunt’s wedding. I was five-years-old with dirty, pin-straight hair and my front teeth were missing along with a few others. I was a flower girl with my older sister and we were both dressed in white, frilly, and itchy dresses. The actual ceremony went quickly to us well-behaved children and the real fun started at the reception.
The first dance may have been my aunt and uncle’s but all dances from then on were my sister’s and mine, upon the toes of our cousin who was more than twice my age at the time. The video can prove that for more than half of the dances it was us three upon the dance floor. He would take us up by both arms and swing us around. At the time he seemed so much taller (now we stand nearly eye to eye). Our white patent-leather ballet flats would fly off our small feet as we were suspended in air for a few seconds.
We took turns dancing to the music, none of which I can remember but was probably whatever was popular and tasteful in the early 90s. But the titles and artists were not what matter at this time. It was the feeling it incited and the rhythm our young limbs understood. We were excited and energetic and the music let us express it. The notes filled my stockinged toes and the extra material that made my white itchy dress flare out. My feet must have tired eventually, but all I remember that first real dance is happiness. I had no other cares in the world but to keep dancing to that music.
Third grade was an exciting year in music class because we got to learn an instrument that was not a small drum or triangle or tambourine. A ridiculous little plastic pipe was handed to each and every one of us along with a thin lesson booklet. No matter how easily you learned the notes and fingering of the recorder, it still sounded bad. But luckily that year I started my first real instrument outside of the classroom: the piano.
We had a keyboard, not a real piano, but it was a good start for learning the basics on. I was learning notes and a few five notes songs but I wanted to learn them so quickly that I was impatient to practice. But I grew to love the sound and the way my fingers moved with such agility. I didn’t appreciate it all the time but it was worth it. Now, ten years of piano later, I have an electric one with the pedals that made the songs sound far better than the electric keyboard could. It remains my favorite instrument.
First Song Heard:
I should make it plural because I remember a mix of songs on the long drives to Cape Cod or Pennsylvania. Tapes played songs by Queen, Billy Joel, Styx, and some Red Grammer as well. Which one I heard first is hard to say but “Radio Ga Ga”, “River of Dreams”, “All God’s Creatures”, “Mr.Roboto”, “It’s a Kind of Magic”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, and “Billy the Kid” were all ingrained into my young brain. They were comforting and exciting at the same time and I grew to love classic rock and children’s songs. Till this day I mainly listen to what I remember hearing from the speakers in the old van and the gray-blue station wagon on those seven hour car rides.
First Song Sung:
My first song sung is also hard to say but, outside of songs sung in school, I’ll go with “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls. This came on the radio in my third year of elementary school. My best friends were into them as well (as many young girls were). We pretended to by the five girls, usually leaving out Posh Spice. We would set ourselves up in the garage and sing all their song, minus the slow ones. We would dance as well, not much but it counts. We’d even do make up and clothing. The music was easy to sing along with although we had no idea what most of the lyrics implied. But I did belt out these songs with my likely toneless voice. I know I sang before this but the whole act of becoming the Spice Girls with my friends makes it stand out.
Additional memory of music:
I cannot recall this one on my own but I have seen a video of myself as a baby sitting on the floor, swaying back and forth to Christmas music. My grandmother reached over and tapped my feet which prompted me to stop the rhythmic swaying. But my toes began to do swirling little circles within the ends of my one-sy. Apparently I couldn’t just completely stop dancing to the music but my grandmother’s tap had stop the entire body dance.
This work by Sarah Holmes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.