June 08, 2016

Musical Inclinations by Karma Pratt

Music has always been a big part of who I am and how I express myself. Growing up, we would take road trips during summer holidays. Our departure was always trumpeted with a rousing chorus of “Holiday Road” led by my dad in the driver’s seat. My brother and I would sit in the back of our ’79 Thunderbird (or Thunderchicken as it came to be known), belting out harmonies and background vocals, while my mom would grin and bear it from the passenger seat. Not that she didn’t love music, but there is a limit to the volume of “harmony” any mom can reasonably take.

Twin Love
I understand this better now, being a mom myself. As I watch my kids grow, stepping into their own strengths, and taking on new challenges, I find myself cringing a little when the volume levels get too high. I have twin children: one with a vocabulary that rivals Webster, and one with significant speech delays who is just now beginning to express himself using words. At 3-1/2 years old, both love to sing and make music. Imagine a chorus of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to the tune of “mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, ARGH, ARGH, ARGH!” (insert inner pirate voice here). That’s kind of how our songs can go.

I wouldn’t trade the loud voices and musical tendencies of my children for all the gold in Fort Knox. Through them I have relearned what it means to truly make a joyful noise. They sing because there’s a song rising up in their hearts, and they cannot conceive of quelling it. They enjoy music and dancing because these activities, these moments connect them to their joy.

Our storyteller
Sometimes the most powerful lessons come from the most innocent perspectives.

Last summer, I had a profound lesson in the nature of creativity. Our daughter, Kalliste, was singing a song she had made up on the spot. We were outdoors at a birthday party for a family friend. We'd been enjoying the birthday festivities, and it was obvious that both kids were in their element. Running around in the fresh air is their favourite thing to do!  

Kalliste, who had just finished one lilting, sing-song effort, paused, took a breath, glanced up at the trees, then looked right back at me and declared, "I feel another song coming. I'm going to sing it now." She proceeded to belt out a new tune, different in tone and structure than the previous one. 

This new song was all about the wind in the trees.

In her book, If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland describes it this way: "And how do these creative thoughts come? They come in a slow way. It is the little bomb of revelation bursting inside you." (Ueland, p. 38)

Creative inspiration can take so many forms. The trick, I am learning, is to embrace these moments when they come. They are spontaneous, spirited and fun-filled. There is no angst, no waiting for the perfect moment, or the perfect word. They simply happen, creative sparks that translate into music. Simple and profound.

Meeting special guest, Elmo, at the
CDC mini talent show. The kids sang
with their classmates.
Music has always been a big part of my life, and I am encouraged and inspired by my children’s love of music. We have a house filled with joyful noise, love and creativity. We sing our praises loudly, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Karma Pratt is a faith-driven mom of twins, a communicator, a writer, and an encourager from way back. She offers professional writing and editing services at redraincoatcreations.com


  1. How adorable! I love the part about, "I feel a song... I'm going to sing it now!" So sweet. It's why we can learn so much from kids.

    1. Everyday she is telling us something like that. She is our story teller for sure, and adds a sense of whimsy and play to everyday. It's fun.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Karma :)
    I can relate to much of what you talk about. I too, grew up in a musical family. We travelled a lot and spent many hours singing together. Many years before I learned the theory of harmony, I had experienced it. Now I enjoy listening to my kids sing and also love teaching Music for Young Children, which nurtures and encourages children to be creative and share their love of music with others. Thanks for reminding me to enjoy the joyful noise :)

    1. Thanks, Ruth. Music definitely has a way of drawing us together. :) I would love to sign our kids up for MYC, but we don't have a certified teacher in our area. I wish we lived closer!

  3. We can learn so much from the confidence and spontaneity of children. Thanks for sharing.

    1. So true, Tandy! I love watching this pair blossom. It's great fun.

  4. Your story reminds of the days when I would sing in the car. Only I was the one driving my kids crazy singing all those memorable jingles from my favourite childhood TV shows. "Here's the story of a lovely lady. Green Acres is the place to be." Music is wonderful!

    1. I agree, music is wonderful! And it's fun to be that mom :)

  5. It sounds lovely, Karma, thanks for letting us experience a bit of the joy!

  6. Karma,

    How wonderful that your young daughter already hears the music swirling in her heart and can say, "I feel another song coming. I'm going to sing it now." May she never lose that.

    And, I like your phrase "creative sparks that translate into music." Oh yes, I know about that too.

    I so enjoy Brenda Ueland's book -- I'd say it's my first-go book when I need encouragement or inspiration about writing or life generally.

    Thanks for sharing...


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