Stubnmusi – Parlour Music

Winter in Bavaria was traditionally the time for ‘Stubnmusi’, where farmers and farm hands and maybe the teacher of a village came together to play music – in summer everybody was busy, so there was less occasion for a get-together or (bavarian) ‘Hoagascht’. Blessed with daughters who volunteered to learn instruments, I am a lucky man, having my own ‘Musi’. Ok, not to make someone jealous: Learning instruments can be a burden for the learners and for the listeners, sometimes…


  1. Markus, for reasons I never understood, my parents wanted me to learn to play the accordian. It wasn’t a very pleasant experience. A few years later, when I was in elementary school at grade five, everyone had to choose a band instrument to play, and I chose the clarinet. Much better, or at least more to my taste. I learned a great deal from learning to play the instrument reasonably well, enough to be first chair in the high school band until I stopped playing because it took too much time away from photography. It’s all the same thing, really, just a matter of what you concentrate on.

    1. Carl, I myself was asked by my parents to learn guitar, which I did throughout my school time. With my daughters it was different: all three of them asked if they were allowed to learn an instrument, and they made their individual choice. If you see all that intake of subjects they have to cope with at school, playing an instrument *can* be balancing. And I hope it helps to sensitize them for the rewards of non-receptive hobbies (like internet). At the moment they for sure are in the steep part of the learning curve, but they already get positive feedbacks from the performances in music school and they learn to stand in front of the listeners without stage fright. We’ll see how they decide when they’re older

  2. In my experience, the impact of learning an instrument on ones surrounding depends a lot on the type of instrument. I dabbled a bit in playing the piano, which wasn’t that bad for people in earshot (I guess). At least one always hits a note, it’s simply the press of a button.

    But I’ve listened to people trying to learn the Cello. Ough. Not one note, but usually starting with one and then hitting every possible frequency between this one and the next.

    I guess it’s similar with the violine and harp?

    1. Well, piano, dulcimer and harp have the advantage that the notes are clearly defined – no quarter tone differences to be feared. If you hit the right key or string in time, you’re set. But yes, violin, like cello, can be somewhat demanding from learners and listeners. This is the reason why I have to be much more patient with my little Paganina. It took more than a year, but now she starts to hear when she missed the correct spot on the neck of the violin. Still a long way to go… But especially playing violin with its different albeit coordinated movements does not only train the obvious capacities, but also helps connect the brain sides. For a kid born as a twin early and lightweight and not as matured as a single baby this is very precious.

      1. Oh, I would completely agree. Music in all its forms certainly aids development, no doubt about that. And those more demanding instruments – in terms of hand-brain-ear coordination even more so.

  3. Learning or listening to someone learning a musical instrument is a mental exercise of patiently awaiting promised rewards, especially for the listeners. When those rewards do come in the form of recognizable and enjoyable music, all else will be forgiven. It’s wonderful your daughters are interesting in music!

    1. Earl, especially as the three of them now start playing together (with a lot of interference necessary in my capacity as local conductor) the rewards already come. It is not only a joy for us listeners but also rewarding for them, learning to listen and respond to each other. And from time to time I take out my old guitar and start rehearsing with them a bit. I am quite convinced that if you want to be a good photographer, you have to train and use all your senses, capacities and capabilities. It’s not only the camera, postprocessing or printing which improves my photography.

      1. I totally agree about using all your senses, in photography, music or whatever one strives to accomplish.

  4. Are they twins? Ah, they are, just read all the comments. A very nice photo in the true tradtion of Yousuf Karsh’s Pablo Casals photo, >:->
    … me, accordion, hated it, forced by parents, sold it when I was fifteen, but nowadays I often think about restarting playing …

    1. Uh oh, Yousuf Karsh’s Pablo Casals – I had to look it up again…
      Regarding restarting to play an instrument: it is definitely astonishing what you didn’t forget, even when it was learned decades ago – latin, guitar in my case. And it’s fun to let old capacities grow again. But honestly – could you really balance it with all your reading and photography?

      1. I have to admit that Casals lacks the beautiful hair your daughters obviously have. However, your photo made me think “why the backs?” Is it because we have to imagine the facial expression? I am also wondering how much of the instrument has to show to make the photo interesting. Would a photo of the back of an accordion player make sense? Perhaps … I guess I have to find me a musician as a model, ;-).

        And yes, that is exactly the reason why I haven’t bought an accordion by now, 😉

        1. Why the backs? There are two reasons here. The obvious one is that their outfit along with their braids triggered my photographic brain – I have a liking for this, for example here. Other than that, I usually won’t post images of their faces. I think they should be able themselves if they want have their images published, and at the moment they are too young to understand the implications.

  5. Sorry, I didn’t explain myself quite right: it thought about “why the backs?” in a more general way, you do it, Karsh did it … I fully understand you will not publish their images – I only publish portraits of street artists I pay for this or of people that can’t really be recognised (I do hope so) in the small format of my blog pictures. I would never publish portraits of friends, relatives or my children (if I had any).

    I didn’t know the other photo – yeah, twins – my mother is twin, my great-grandfater is a twin.

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