I haven’t been playing a lot of music these days, but the one time I always do get out my guitar is during my daughter’s baths. I remember how my mom would always sit on the toilet seat with her guitar and serenade me while I was in the tub, and I feel called to do the same. June is not usually into my music, but in the context of bath time, she often splashes along to the more rhythmic parts, asks me to play her favorite, “Mr. Postman,” and requests that I change my voice and playing to be “scary and spooky” sometimes for fun.
Actually, I realize that my mom’s bathtime music ritual is what made me prefer to play classical guitar rather than steel string most of the time. She had a tan Guild steel string guitar that she performed with at schools and libraries, but she wouldn’t bring that one into the bathroom; she’d bring in her other, dark brown, slightly more beat-up guitar, which also happened to be a nylon-string. I loved the softer sound it had, and asked her why she only played that one in the bathroom. Her answer didn’t really convince me, but I understood it to be a matter of wanting to perform with the guitar that was viewed as better and more appropriate. Folk songs were usually accompanied by a steel string acoustic guitar, after all, and that is the type of music she played.
My voice is on the softer side, and for the kind of songs I’ve sung and performed in years past (also mostly folk, or folk-ish), the mellow, more subtle quality of the classical guitar has seemed to me the perfect accompaniment. Thanks, Mom, for opening that possibility and starting this wonderful ritual.