The Living Home : Music and Family with Dan + Michelle Prindle

We can't wait to tell you all something. But first...

How does music live in your home? Do your children know your voice, and do you make music together? Even though we surround ourselves with music (there's guitars on the walls, couches and in play at the Wolfe residence, Maya sings & David did his graduate studies in music business), we aren't really filling our homes each day with music made WITH our children. We have musical edges we're afraid of, and a bit of trepidation and fuzziness about our ability to just make it. Music, for many of us, isn't something that you can just make. But what more profound, comforting, and connecting practice can we have with our loved ones? What's more alive than walls that resonate with grounding, joyful emotion, made audible? 

And SO {clapping. yes, maya & robyn are clapping}…We are beyond ourselves to announce the newest members of the Waldorfish Family, Dan and Michelle Prindle, founders of Living Music in the Home. That pretty much says everything, doesn't it? They teach how to create ethereal, nourishing music for our wee ones, and how to find our inner voice.

{Dan} A first glimpse:

As I enter our living space, trying to view it as I would for the first time, I am struck by the handmade character of our home.  The nature table in the corner, proudly displaying the nuts, seed pods and pinecones our sons have gathered on walks and trips to the park, nestled amidst the crafty seasonal projects they've made together; the grapevine wreath hanging over our table, adorned with different decorations for each season - Pysanky eggs at Eastertide, felted acorns and leaves in Autumn, stars at the Winter solstice; window stars, watercolored Valentine's hearts, the colorful bunting Michelle sewed for our living room window.   

Everything is a reflection of our family life ~ that we create together and live in this home. But also striking are the contributions of family and friends, who strive to embrace our philosophy and support our aspirations for an intentional lifestyle.  There are the handmade mugs - a gift from a college roommate; the crocheted toys Grandma made for our sons' play kitchen; the serving bowl and wooden trains made by my stepfather; and the curtains hanging on our sons' windows, on loan from our dear friend down the street.  

And then, of course, there are the instruments, which signify the importance of making living music in our home, of sharing happy hours together, creating as a family in the medium we know best - music. 

{Michelle} What was your original vision for this home? How did you hope to express love, made visible?

Our original vision was for a joyful home that is respectful of the needs of our children to play, develop new competencies and abilities, and thrive.  We envisioned a home that would offer a welcome respite from the over-stimulation and busy-ness of the outer world.  We wanted to recreate traditional rhythms and rituals that were missing from our own typical American suburban upbringings and to provide opportunities for reverence, gratitude and a sense of wonder at life's miracles, large and small.  We wanted to model a mindful, purposeful way of life that reflects our commitment to using our resources wisely and carefully, out of respect for our Mother Earth.  And, most importantly, we wanted a home filled with the love of music and singing, recitation of poetry, a love of theater, live music and opera.  After all, we first met in a high school production of "Fiddler on the Roof" many, many years ago, when we were cast as Motel and Tzeitel, the poor tailor and the daughter of a poor farmer who becomes his bride.  So, music has been a part of our lives from our very first days together, and we have always intended that it would remain so!

As musicians and music teachers, our home has also always been our place of work, meaning that there is a steady stream of fellow musicians and collaborators, private lesson students and their families making its way through our home most nights of the week and on weekends.  While this brings with it the joy of a home filled with living music, opening our home in this way is not without its challenges!  As parents, we've had to grapple with contradictions on a daily basis to build a work-life balance.  How do we create a welcoming space that also respects the rhythms of our growing children?  How do we balance the needs of our own family and those of our students?  How can we remain true to our values as parents, and create a mindful, intentional life for our family?

And so, to live our vision for a joyous home, we've kept an eye to simplicity.  What beautiful things can we have in our home that contribute to a peaceful atmosphere and an inviting children's play-space?  We've tried to keep only a small selection of natural materials and beautiful toys - many of them handmade by family and friends - available for our children, and to rotate toys in and out of circulation from a "toy library" in the basement to help support our children's creative play. 

How can we minimize media exposure for our children while still running a home business and occasionally watching a movie together after our children are tucked in bed?  We've covered our old-school television with a beautiful tapestry, which we lift up for our grown-up movie nights, and banished the computer to dad's office to achieve this goal.  How can we bring more intention to the way in which we live our lives, not completely apart from modern culture but certainly trying to hold aspects of it at bay and outside of our cozy, safe nest?  To achieve this end, we've restricted our children's exposure to the images and impressions of modern pop culture, which has helped to preserve their innocence in a world where children are pushed to mature too fast.  We've also begun what we affectionately refer to as "re-skilling," adopting and learning time-honored skills that were missing from our own childhoods.  We've cloth diapered with cotton and wool since our son's first day home from the hospital, and I've learned to sew and knit, making clothing and decorations for our home. Our newest forays have been into raised bed gardening (we are complete beginners!), fermenting vegetables, and making yogurt and bone broths from scratch.  It's an ever-evolving adventure!

{Michelle} How do holidays, festivals and celebrations occur here?

With each passing year, we've felt our way more and more into a festival life that reflects our values as a family.  Beginning with simple rituals - handmade birthday crowns and a Waldorf birthday ring - we've strived to create simple celebrations that honor the lives of our children and each other. There is the special "birthday breakfast," a ritual created by my father when my brother & sister and I were growing up, where the breakfast is chosen by the birthday girl or boy and served up as quite a feast.  There is a decorated chair and a special place for small gifts and tokens of love.  It feels slow and beautiful to us!  This year was particularly meaningful for our son's fifth birthday, as our dear friends from Germany were visiting and shared in the celebration with their own two children.

While we both grew up accustomed to large family gatherings, this past year we made the move to reclaim Christmas as a small and intimate affair for our nuclear family.  As occurs most Christmas Eves, we performed together at church - Dan on the cello and me singing.  After the vigil ended with the congregation singing "Silent Night" by candlelight, we returned home to sprinkle "reindeer dust" from our front door to the end of our driveway.  And then it was time to turn off all the lights and read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" under the twinkly glow of only our Christmas tree.  Our boys' eyes were big with with the magic and excitement of it all, their cheeks flushed with anticipation.  Most of the gifts for our children and loved-ones were handmade in the weeks and months leading up to Christmas.  It was a touchingly simple festival, something that we carefully created and cherished together as a family.

See why we adore them? So many solid questions that we can feel into. They live for the soulful connection between you and yours. We're taking Dan and Michelle's invitation to re-skill, and to seek the edges of our own voices. Living Music in the Home is for parents and teachers who wish to share the joy of music with their children and students. They provide musical training for adults so they can create living music in their homes and classrooms.  At Waldorfish, their

simple, exquisite, musical magic is 10% off.

Will you join us? We will be here. xx, Robyn, Maya, Brian, David + The Waldorfish Community