A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

The Never Ending Therapy of The Vince Guaraldi Trio

I spent my lunch hour yesterday searching for something that would be perfect to take to the twin mom's Bingo party tonight. Unlike funerals where one would search the "freezes beautifully" section of food.com I was looking for "something that moms who wipe more butts than most people can imagine" would enjoy. This usually involves chocolate or booze or both. I settled on something called a chocolate chip toffee brittle. As I drove through the woods headed to the grocery a thought floated through my head in my mother's voice, "Apparently named by someone who doesn't actually know what brittle is."
That snark was so real, so accurate and on point with something my mom would've said that I began to cry driving through the stupid storm that was picking up. The road I was headed down doesn't have much for street lights so I sniffled and tried to get ahold of myself. It's a perfect road to slide over a bit too far accidentally and slam into oncoming traffic.
Right about then is when the Vince Guaraldi Trio saved me.

Most people know the Vince Guaraldi Trio quite well thanks to their work providing music for the Peanuts. That in itself is nearly enough to put anyone in a happier place. When I was in college though, I learned that the chart Linus and Lucy has magical stress relieving powers. It worked like this...

The basement of the music department at my university was where all of the practice rooms where. Dank, cool little rooms down one cement block hallway painted what was probably a cream color in some past decade. The doors would be closed and you'd hear the same bars over and over, rarely a whole piece. You'd hear the fingering that was tricky, you'd hear the notes that were always being over or under blown, you'd hear music dissected, pulled apart, into the pieces that the listener doesn't always discern but the musician has to master to make it whole. I was a secondary music education major and also a world class procrastinator. This meant that I spent more than my fair share of time in practice rooms LATE in the day. 

Nearly every room was fitted with a grand piano, if not there was an upright shoved into the corner. There was something soothing and peaceful about being in the womb of that sterile place with music floating through the air. It wasn't comfortable, yet it was a place I liked to be. It was like being with your tribe, even though everyone was in a room alone struggling with bars that were defeating them.

As the evenings would progress the stress level would increase. People were getting tired, there was other studying to do. But the music also had to be practiced. When the event horizon of stress and sleep deprivation was reached - a door would open and suddenly you'd hear the base line being plunked out. 

Another door would open, and join in.

Within moments doors were opening down the hall and the familiar tune of Linus and Lucy would thunder and echo through the halls courtesy of 20 or so music students having a stress break. Banging away at the keyboard, playing those notes of our childhood joy for no reason at all other than the peer pressure of it was one of the most cathartic moments of my life. We struggled with 8 bars of this or 4 bars of that BUT As God As My Witness, we'd all master Linus and Lucy and make it ours. It was a concert of one song, played loudly and with joy. It was a musical stress scream that let out our frustrations and reminded us what we loved, music.

As I pulled into the grocery store parking lot yesterday I realized I was smiling, remembering how happy that stupid tune used to make me. It could take away the stress and how annoyed or bad I was feeling about what I was working on. 

I guess it still works.