The Soundtrack of Our Homestead

By , November 12, 2009

Music has always been a vital ingredient to the quality of our lives. Michelle and I both participated in our school music programs. My former radio career revolved around music. Aly participated in middle school band before becoming a homeschooler. Our home has always been filled with music, live and recorded.

I’ve thought long and hard about how best to express the impact music has on our lives, but it’s significant enough that a short blog post just won’t do. Too much is involved for a brief essay: our tastes and preferences are broad, and a properly comprehensive explanation of our use of music would require detailed treatises on our choices. Instead, here’s a brief overview:

Our “home stereo” is an in-dash auto CD/radio deck that’s tied into our DC house power. There’s a boombox on our nightstand, and Aly has one in her room. Each of us has a personal MP3 player. The entertainment center is also a stereo, but because it runs off the inverter, and draws more power, we rarely use it for listening.

I don’t use the MP3 player often. When I’m out and about, I want to hear what’s going on around me, so I don’t wear it in the forest, as a rule. Mostly, I use it when I’m chopping wood. I find Jimi Hendrix particularly good for that chore.

Since the stereo is most accessible, and because our home is so small, and we’re all together much of each day, it helps that our tastes are rather homogenous. Our tastes largely shape Aly’s so far. Since her parents are still rock’n’rollers to an extent, it’d be hard for her to come up with anything that would really bug us. She’d have to turn to rap, certain jazz styles, or Sinatra-style lounge music, all of which she currently despises, to really rebel.

For now, she’s happy to play selections from our considerable collection of CDs. She seems particularly fond of our Celtic discs, and the soundtracks of her favorite movies. Together we’ve discovered Sarah McLachlan, and when she returned from Australia she brought a great single by Thirsty Merc, whose chunky rock’n’roll riffs take me right back to my radio days.

Now more than ever, music provides a soundtrack to daily life. I’ve always preferred it this way, favoring music that reflected the life I lead at any particular phase of my life. I now favor music that complements the homestead lifestyle, leaning more heavily toward classical, instrumental, and Celtic flavored artists, preferably with a quieter style. Some days nothing short of a tasty old Rolling Stones album will do, but most of the time, I want a background that expresses the beauty around me. Also, it’s better for family conversation if the music doesn’t demand too much attention.

If you’ve followed the blog, you have surely guessed that the season influences our musical choices heavily. Our playlists shift most often in seasonal ways. This is most noticeable during the Christmas season, when we play the music of that season exclusively throughout the six weeks or so of our yearly celebration. I’ll touch on this more comprehensively in the coming months.

If you use Twitter, in the future we’ll try to post what’s playing now and then, to give you an audio impression of what’s happening in our lives.

An incredibly brief list of some of our most listened to artists can be found on our booklist page.

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