How musical is your home?

April 9 |
By: eddie welkerCC BY 2.0
I'm looking at my empty piano nook and my unused bass guitar and thinking about the HOURS I used to spend fiddling on keyboards and drum practice pads. My partner and I grew up heavily involved in choir, show choir, band, jazz band, bedroom-based punk bands…

My home is hardly musical anymore, and I'm wondering what place music has in the homes of Homies.

Indulge me today and weigh in! If you have other junk to say, it is always welcome in the comments.

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  1. What if it's my husband, not me, who has all the instruments, etc? He's got tons, but he hardly touches them. On the other hand, he is always singing, and when he's not, it's Pandora or Beatles cds all the way.

    2 agree
    • Instruments he has: electric keyboard, miniature keyboard, piano flute, bongos, small hand drum, tamborine, harmonica, kazoo, 2 recorders, a maraca shaped like an apple, and a large djemba

    • Yes, we have instruments (two organs) in our household, but I don't play them, my husband does. Well, plays one. The other one is broken. Sigh. Anyone know how to fix an electronic organ motherboard?

  2. Instruments I have: mandolin, Appalachian dulcimer, harmonica, guitar, recorder
    Instruments I play:

    My boyfriend is pretty handy with basically any instrument he picks up, and he's been enjoying messing around with mine. But I'm stubby-fingered and rhythmically-challenged.
    I was raised in a home where unnecessary noise just didn't happen. We didn't listen to music or leave the TV on unless we were actively engaged with THAT. Having background music or noise bothers me a lot. I enjoy listening to my boyfriend play guitar or sing made-up songs with questionable content, but I can't tolerate music that I'm not focused on wholly.

    1 agrees
    • I'm kind of like you re: background music. The only music that I can have on in the background and be able to do other things like read or something is jazz piano. I think that's because there are no words to distract me.

  3. My boyfriend has two guitars – one acoustic, one electric. I have a ton of weird instruments including two ocarinas, a pair of castanets and this weird thing made from half a coconut with metal bars you flick to make plinky noises that I don't even know the name for.

    Thing is we bought all these instruments before finally conceeding (seperately) that neither of us has any musical talent. So they rarely get used except as decorations. 🙁

    We're both big music fans however and there's almost always something playing (except right now, but this topic is making me want to go put a CD on). We never did merge our CD collections but even excluding repeats we've got over 400 albums. Mainly rock music but it ranges from cheesy pop to industrial to clasical soundtracks (I've been listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack a lot lately) to traditional Chinese stuff. We'll give anything a go and it's rare that we don't have music playing either on the computer or the CD player.

    • That coconut thing – I seem to remember it being called a thumb piano. I had completely forgotten about those!

      1 agrees
      • I think you're right. At least a google image search for 'thumb piano' brings up a lot of similar looking things.

        I bought it years ago on impulse because I liked the noise it made and I could make basic tunes with no skill whatsoever.

        • It's called a kalimba! It's a traditional African instrument. (The music teacher in me had to weigh in on this.)

          1 agrees
  4. I used to be in marching, concert, and jazz band, but while I still have my clarinet, I don't really play anymore. Once I was out of high school and moved into an apartment, I didn't have a place to practice. Even now that I'm living with my parents for the summer, I can't play because the dogs cry every time I so much as go through the scales…

    1 agrees
  5. We have an acoustic guitar, standup bass, trombone, euphonium, mandolin, cello, maracas, wood blocks, bells, tambourines, glockenspiel, and two harps. It's helpful when your musical instrument addicted husband works for a musical instrument maker… or not. ^_^

    1 agrees
  6. An acoustic guitar that gets played daily and gets hung on the wall in our living room.
    A HUGE federal mahogany explayer piano that could use a little more music time.
    A full 88 key digital piano that gets some love and lives in the garage for band practices and nap time playing.
    I also have a degree in vocal performance so my eighteen month old son and I are constantly singing. And my husband is the classic music lover. He will put on music at any time and all the time! My son also has the whole assortment of shakers, jinglers and bangers. He even has a half size guitar. Hello Suzuki method.
    There is definitely some joyful noise coming out of our house!

    1 agrees
  7. Guilt: I wallowz in it. I have an el-cheapo electronic keyboard that experiences a certain amount of neglect because it's not nearly as much fun to play as a piano. But I have neither the space nor disposable income for a piano. Every now and again, I eye the larger toy pianos on eBay…

    Music is usually on in my home, though, since I blog about obscure bands and other musical topics. The current deal is to tackle one recipe from each state of the U.S., accompanied by one band from that state. I'm much, much better as an audience member than as a performer.

  8. I have a nice acoustic guitar I can barely play. I really need to get back to practicing. But I have music playing all the time, and I sing along with most of it. I grew up with music playing on the stereo all the time. Chores were always done to music, and that's the best way to work for me now.

  9. Music is almost always playing in my house. My husband and I just dropped a huge chunk of change so that he could record music. So sometimes we spend hours listening to just one song, haha. But, I love that our little girl gets to grow up in such a musical household. I am not as musically inclined as my husband, but I play around with the guitar, keyboards and other miscellanous instruments we have, like the ones made from coconuts and other nuts that we purchased while on our honeymoon in Hawaii. I'm really jonesin' for a dejembe at the moment. So, that may be our next purchase. When we aren't playing music, one of our ipods or our record player is going. Beats non-stop yo! =0P

    1 agrees
  10. We have a room called the Hippie Jam Room that we (mostly my husband) dabble around in every other week, and have friends over that will jam with us once every other month. Instruments we have are: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, acoustic bass (on loan from a friend), keyboard, a set of congas, djembe, udu, talking drum, didgeridoo, oriental flute, and maybe another type of percussion instrument I'm missing.

  11. I dream of having a piano, but I live in a smallish, top floor apartment. No go. One day, when I have the space and the money, I will have a piano, but for now, my keyboard with a collapsable stand will have to do it.

  12. I own a guitar, two flutes, a fife and a piccolo. I would love to learn bass and harmonica, but I'll probably have to wait until I'm retired at this rate. I'd also like a better quality fife, since the one I have is pretty inexpensive. Oh, and I have a collection of flutes from other cultures, but most of them are more display-worthy than playable.

    Also, I don't find it "gauche," persay, to register for instruments as gifts, but I wouldn't really consider it something I would ask for just because I'm so picky about what I play. I would be afraid that some well meaning non-musician would buy me what *they* consider a reasonable substitute and I would be stuck with an instrument I don't like and would feel guilty about replacing.

  13. My bandmate is moving in at the end of the month, which means our music corner will be expanding even more! She's the main songwriter, so I suspect there will be a lot more homemade music once she's here. We also keep some of our other bandmates' instruments, so the tally is at:
    1 upright piano
    3 electronic keyboards
    3 acoustic guitars
    1 halfsize guitar
    1 classical guitar
    1 electric bass
    2 violins
    1 ukulele
    1 omnichord
    1 melodica
    1 glockenspiel
    1 trumpet
    A variety of shakers, maracas, kazoos, and noisemakers (slidewhistle is a feature in one of our songs)
    Occasionally a drum kit or cajon

    Otherwise we also have a record player in the kitchen and one in the living room, though that one doesn't get used much. Some days I like quiet while I work, other times I like music! My partner is the president of our local community radio station, so he tries to have that on as much as possible.

  14. "They make such beautiful decorations!" is pretty much what it has come down to lately 🙁 I think I will also register myself in the guilt category! I was super musical in high school and now as a long time apartment dweller not wanting to bother neighbors/busy person just not making time for it my collection of instruments have just been making beautiful apartment decorations! I already had my keyboard, a vintage silver alto sax, and matching red and orange acoustic and bass guitars and then when my bf and I moved into together he brought his bass guitar and another acoustic – so there is quite the menagerie of music.. that never gets played, so sad!

  15. What does NPR mean? I googled it and it said 'national public radio' – and now I still don't understand?

    • NPR is like PBS for radio. There are news programs, human interest programs, Prairie Home Companion, etc. It's a grab bag of programming, and just like PBS there are occasional fundraisers where they ask listeners for donations as it's a publicly funded station.

  16. i played in a rock band or two in my late teens and early twenties. when i moved out of state, the only thing that made the move with me was my acoustic guitar. recently, my parents brought my electric guitars and my combo amp and i played for a while. i have two kiddos now so it seems harder to find the time to play and write. my oldest kid has a small loog guitar and a ukulele and likes to play guitar with me in the basement 🙂 this is happens mush less often than i would like, but it's something.

  17. We need to have more music. My dude frequently has music blaring (it's that or tv/movies when he's working or sleeping. I tend to listen to music when I'm having downtime but if I'm doing a bit kitchen project I might be listening to something. That or if I'm crafting.

    But we have both been seriously into music. I was like Cat, in numerous jazz and concert bands, taking piano and vocal and trumpet lessons, etc. My trumpet hasn't seen use by me in years though. I haven't done much singing in a while other than in the shower or my car (or while doing dishes). My dude used to be in multiple bands but since he started leaning toward art and went back to university he doesn't play nearly as much. He has a semi-regular hangout with a musician friend and they jam. It's sometimes a case of just too many things to do. And not enough space. Our electric piano had to go to the basement to make room for our pets, computers, art tables, tv, etc. And there is not a good space to set it up down there (it's an unfinished basement, home of laundry, storage and my jewellery bench just because there was no space upstairs and some of the stuff I do is not pet friendly).

  18. While I don't play any instruments, my partner plays electric guitar and has four. He often picks up an electric guitar at the breakfast table or while relaxing, and plays a few minutes a time throughout the day. It's just part of the rhythm of our home. I'm a background music kind of person, so I always have music streaming. I'd love to get a record player, as some of my favorite artists are still pressing vinyl.

  19. I played piano and saxophone when I was younger and still have the saxophone in my current home, although I haven't played it in years. My husband likes to dabble with all sorts of instruments, so we also have: an electric Wurlitzer piano, an electric keyboard, an accordion, 3 electric guitars, an acoustic guitar, a ukelele, a harmonica, a cowbell, tambourines, a pan flute and a theremin. They probably don't get used as often as they should, but I have to admit they're kinda fun to have around.

  20. I played piano when I was a child and bought a keyboard a few years ago with the grand hope of playing often and improving. But I never really used it. Instead, it just took up a corner of the room mocking me. The guilt!!! I finally sold it this year and that seems to have been the right choice for me.

    I played several other instruments in my life, but right now the only ones I still have are small ones like recorders and harmonicas. Oh, and the clarinet my grandfather played in high school because it's super awesome. 🙂 That, and I put on an awesome performance of show tunes and old hymns while washing the dishes.

    • (Singing performance, that is. 🙂 A clarinet performance while washing dishes probably wouldn't be so successful…)

  21. I listed my voice as an instrument that I practice religiously, even though I don't have any other instruments. Wait, I have an old casio I used to use for picking out my parts in chorale music, but even though I still pull it out from time to time to learn a new song from the Fake Book, it's not really an instrument… Groom can whistle like a mofo, but that's about it for him.

  22. We have a trumpet, an electric acoustic guitar, a piccolo and a flute, as well as a homemade guitar that was a science class project of my husband's from like 15 years ago (it's pretty neat – you can actually tune it).

    We're going to be purchasing an upright piano from my mother in law once we have a couple hundred bucks to spend on it. So excited to have a piano in our home! I want to take lessons.

  23. I used to do marching band, concert band, music theory, chamber ensemble, and have been involved in technical theater and as a local roadie for my brother's sludge band. As I am a bit of an electronics geek, We have no less than 11 radios in our house, of various ages (tube to modern) We can get 2 NPR stations (WBFO and WQLN both of whom play some good tunage), a jazz station, metal stations, classic rock, classical, and pretty much anything on the old 40 meter world bands, thanks to lots of ham radio (I'm KC2TOO, It's nice to meet you) equipment and an 132 ft longwire behind the house.

    I grew up listening to Early Chicago (think the CTA albums, and lots of old reel to reel tapes)

    I miss performing music, but some of us just get to that point where we realize we are better mechanics/electronicists/farmers than musicians.

  24. My husband is a drummer, and his band currently uses our living room as a jam space. He also has bass and acoustic guitars (which he doesn't play).

    I used to sing, and I still do practice quite a bit (but I don't train properly), just to keep my voice in shape even though I don't plan on performing again. I just love singing for its own sake.

    I also have a cello at my house (which I used to play but no longer do – I do consider taking it up again one day) and a didgeridoo that currently resides at my parents' house.

  25. Currently, I sadly don't have many instruments in my apartment. Right now it just consists of my two trombones (a crappy one for outdoor playing and a nice one). Frankly, with college and work I don't have much time to play. What I'd really like is a piano (that's my first instrument) but when you move twice a year, that's not going to happen…

    Growing up… now that's a different story! My mom has a degree in instrumental music education and is a music/choir director. There were also four of us kids. So, we had (all are pretty much my mother's/communal unless otherwise noted:
    A piano
    A keyboard (for input to finale on the computer)
    a flute
    a piccolo
    two clarinets (my sister's)
    a french horn (my brother's)
    a cornet (my brother's)
    a saxophone (my other brother's)
    an oboe (my sister's)
    two trombones (mine)
    a soprano recorder
    an alto recorder
    a penny whistle
    a fife
    an african conga type drum (don't recall the actual name)
    multiple nosie-makers (shakers, etc)
    my uncle's old guitar (no one actually knows how to play this, but we keep it as my uncle passed away)
    a couple harmonicas
    an stringed instrument I can't remember the name of, but you'd press various buttons and it would automatically damp the correct strings for a chord
    Oh, and all of us sang – even my dad who can't play an instrument otherwise!

    Oh, and even though this wasn't when I was growing up, my brother now has a bagpipe.

    Growing up, we hardly played music off of tapes,etc as we just had so much of it anyway.

    1 agrees
    • With all of this, of course we were nicknamed the "VonTrap family" – especially because when we were younger, we would all sing together in 4-5 part harmony. At least until my brothers didn't think it was 'cool' anymore, which is sad because my one brother was finally becoming a bass and my dad had to fake it all those years as he's actually a tenor. I wonder if we'll ever actually all sing together again…

      1 agrees
  26. I used to play the piano, but I don't have a piano or a keyboard at the moment. Also, I've been in a number of choirs in the past and enjoy singing.

    I want to learn to play the guitar or ukulele sometime soon. Amanda Palmer's ukulele anthem is part of my inspiration for considering taking up ukulele playing: http://music.amandapalmer.net/track/ukulele-anthem

  27. I have:
    An upright piano
    A clarinet
    A flute
    Two violins
    Several recorders (descant, treble, sopranino)
    A fife
    Two Irish whistles (in different keys)
    Two guitars (electric and acoustic)

    …though in practice, I sing, and my boyfriend plays one of my violins, and that's it. I keep meaning to pick up the woodwind again, but never get round to it.

    Musical instruments just sort of happen to me.

  28. I don't play any instruments, I do the listening. I listen to music a lot. Every day, any time I can. My husband on the other hand has played guitar for about 15 years, he can play the piano, bass guitar, drums, and maybe a couple of other things. Guitar is his true love though. We have at least 8 guitars at home- acoustic and electric.

  29. Currently, I just have a piano (keyboard). I taught myself how to play it, and it's pretty fun.

    I would really really really like to have a cello someday! It's an instrument that I have always wanted to play. ^_^

  30. I've been studying flute for nearly 20 years, so I have a few flutes, a piccolo, and two shakuhachi, plus a keyboard. My husband has an acoustic guitar, and we bought a didjeridoo on our honeymoon in Australia, which I can sort of play. And we both sing – we became friends and more through a shared love of karaoke while living in Japan. There is nearly always music playing in our house.

  31. Well, my husband is a freelance classical trumpeter and I have a musicology degree, so we have a hilarious number of his instruments (6?) in our house, along with my clarinet. He also collects repro period instruments, meaning we have a natural trumpet and a cornetto sitting around, too. These usually get played when he's had too much to drink. I really want a piano but we have to wait until we settle somewhere because they're just too much to move. And we have really nerdy discussions about music 🙂

    1 agrees
  32. I have a violin, an electric five string violin, a mandolin, a NICE electric keyboard, guitar and an old out of tune piano. I play violin a fair amount and sing a ton. I would LIKE to get a saxaphone, cello and some medieval instruments. XD

  33. the husband and i are both musicians and i play professionally, so we have a LOT of instruments – some of which get played and some don't. (anyone know how to play vijuela?)

    it made me giggle, just a little bit, when we went to pick out a grand piano (our big purchase graduation gift) and they asked "what color do you want?" like someone said above, i would never register for an instrument – just because if you are really serious about it, you want to PLAY it and LIVE with it and LOVE it before you buy it, not just look at a picture.

  34. My partner has a guitar, as he recently started teaching himself to play. He kept up with practice for about a month, and I haven't seen him touch it since then.

    I have a keyboard which I had as a kid, and have just recently moved it from my parents' place. I brought it here mostly so that friends could play it at parties and I've barely touched it.

    I didn't grow up in a particularly musical household, but I always loved playing with the piano as a kid. I'm hoping when our kiddo is old enough (currently still 5 months until it's born) it'll enjoy the instruments, even if only from friends/relatives playing them when they visit.

  35. I've been playing the clarinet since I was 10 years old. The exact same Selmer, student-grade clarinet. It's finally starting to fall apart and I am yearrrrrning for a fancier Buffet Crampon expensive wooden model to play my jazz with. I also started playing the cello in 4th grade and have since started bluegrass fiddle. My fiance is learning banjo. We intend to start bluegrass covers of 90's rap songs soon…

  36. It's more like which instruments wouldn't I want.

    Currently have an alto saxophone, wanting a soprano. 3 clarinets, a cheapy, a really nice one and my partner's. 2 mandolins, cheapy and old but nice. Also working towards having a go at making mandolins, probably others in the same family too. 2 recorders, both cheapies so that I could try remember enough to teach my 7 year old.

    Actively taking lessons and playing the sax, and clarinet in public on a regular basis. Singing in public too, but haven't found the time for lessons there.

    Instruments that I really want are a harp, theremin, and piano (though an electric one would do for now). Although I just want to adopt and love all the poor neglected instruments I see… That reminds me, I'e had my eye on a piano accordian for a while.

    In the short term my partner is planning to trade instruction on the cello and singing for instruction on the sax and clarinet.

  37. Between my roommates and I, we have:
    2 flutes
    2 clarinets
    a bassoon
    a saxophone
    a french horn
    a trombone
    a guitar
    2 ukuleles
    2 violins
    a cello
    2 recorders
    At least 5 kazoos (I think they multiply when I'm not looking)
    a keyboard
    and a piano.

    We're all music education or performance students at a conservatory…our neighbors just looooove us.

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