Beethoven and Bernstein

***September is my birthday month. In honor of that each day up until my birthday I will be sharing a picture of when I was younger. Along with that photo, I will attach something I would write to my younger self.  If you are just joining in  Part 1 Part2 Part 3 Part 4     


You’ve always loved music. This year you learn to play the clarinet. Sort of. You really don’t like to practice as you should. Hard work and learning to stick with things will be a reoccurring pattern in your life.

As with anything in life little Donna, it takes dedication and and work to accomplish great things. You see some of your other friends who are more disciplined with their music than you. You start to have feelings of doubt that you really are good at playing music at all. Off and on you let your fears get the best of you. I wish we didn’t do that.

The thing I would like you to know is that we are all on different levels. Not just with learning to play an instrument, but with life. There will be times when you are on a different level of understanding than your peers. You will need to be patient with them, and you will need to love them unconditionally. There will come a time when you are older. You will look back on your life, and how you acted. You will be amazed that your friends stuck by you. See? We are all on different levels. Sometimes it takes us a bit to catch up.

In addition to playing music, you love listening to it.  In a previous grade, one of your music teachers let anyone bring in music that they loved. The class was able to listen to whatever a particular classmate brought in. Most people brought in popular music. You were the “weird” kid that brought in Beethoven.  After school, one of your friends told you “ Don’t ever bring boring music like that in again!” You didn’t understand how she could say something like that. Didn’t she see and feel how beautiful and dramatic his music was? Didn’t she feel how his music moved you?  

As  a child we were obsessed with Beethoven's 5th symphony.  You also loved movie scores. Your favorite was the theme from “Driving Miss Daisy.” It featured a clarinet. The smooth caramelly sounds of that woodwind instrument transcended your soul.  One of your favorite things to do is to pretend you are Leonard Bernstein. You line your stuffed animals on the bed and pretend they are your orchestra.

There will come a time when music will be the only thing you can feel, and hold on to.  The ability to convey what you mean will escape you. At those times lyrics to hymns, or other songs will be able to communicate clearly what you need to hear.  You will have dark days. Sometimes you will hear a particular song, and it will make you weep. Let the tears flow. That is what music is supposed to do. Make us feel, and take us to places we’ve never been.


Bitten by the Big Apple