Friday night, our weekly(-ish) rehearsal session for the Grant Mazak Band started out as it usually does — the guys trickled into the living room around 8:30pm, instruments and amplifiers in hand, slightly weary end-of-the-week smiles on faces. [Kathy->] was at a motorcycle safety class, and [Liam->] and [Abby->] were at a school field trip, so [Emily->], [Maggie->] and I were the only ones around. While the girls watched movies in Maggie’s room, we started practicing some of the songs we’re working up for a party at the beginning of December.

After a few, Emily wandered in, Dora the Explorer’s charms having worn thin. We played through Greenday’s Time of Your Life for her — one of her favorites. Grant then said “when are you going to play with us? Go get your guitar!” She’s been learning to play a bit at a time since July, a process that was markedly accelerated when Grant graciously liberated a guitar from the store for her benefit. After a bit of cajoling, we convinced her to come join in the music-making.

For the next hour, we had a grand time, picking out songs that lacked exotic chords and having Grant and Barry call out changes to Emily while she gamely hung in and played along. She did really well, showing an excellent sense of rhythm and anticipation of chord changes, though her fingers occassionally had a tough time keeping up with her brain. Grant, who loves teaching immensely and obviously, helped her with technique and gave her a few exercises to help build the necessary muscle memory. As the rest of the family trickled home, we added Kathy, Abby, and her tentatively-plucked violin to the scene in the living room. (Kathy offered to get out her French Horn too, but we just couldn’t figure out how to orchestrate that into blues songs.)

We had a superb time playing together; I had a grin plastered on my face for about 30 minutes straight while Emily was playing with us. While I’ve really hoped that some of the kids would get into music over time, I’ve been reluctant to push formal lessons, both because our calendar’s already ridiculous, and because I don’t want to risk squashing the pleasure that music can bring. It’s exciting and gratifying to see the kids starting to take an interest of their own accord. While I don’t think we’ll ever be the Von Trapp Family Singers, if we can find joy in making music together over the next several years, I’ll be one happy Dad.