I grew up with a mom and dad who played music every chance they got. Most nights after dinner, one parent would turn up the classical music coming from the local station on the kitchen radio, the other retired to a room to read, while the kids each went off to practice their respective instruments. One child on the upstairs piano, one on the downstairs piano, another in the TV room practicing a wind instrument.
They took the kids to piano lessons, French Horn lessons, saxaphone lessons, flute, clarinet, whichever instrument struck our fancy. For some period of years, all kids were required to take two instruments, so mathmatically, our practice sessions took most of the weeknight evening not already taken up by homework. But the house was, interminablely, filled with “music.”
My mother was a whistler and when not actually playing the violin, she was whistling her way around the house, making certain no room was unfilled with sound. Every morning about 5AM my father would rise first and start tea or coffee, making the most of what little solitude one could find in the house. (For years, I also woke at 5AM to “keep my father company,” thinking he was lonely. Not until I had kids in my own house did I realize those early solo hours were not lonely, but intentional — a needed respite from the clamor of everyday life.)
Learning to play music is an long exercise learning to to be kind to yourself. As your fingers stumble to keep up with your eyes and ears, your brain will say unkind things to the rest of you. And when this tangle of body and mind finally makes sense of a measure or a melody, there is peace. Or, more accurately, harmony. And like the parents who so energetically both fill a house with music and seek its quietude, both are needed to make things work. As with music, it takes a lifetime of practice to be kind to yourself. Make space for that practice, and the harmony will emerge.