May 24, 2009

Music Soothes the Soul...

Our children grow and develop tastes and opinions and sometimes you listen to them and wonder when it happened.

You wonder when the adult tastes started appearing, when thoughts of various topics were formed, when decisions are made with more adult reflection.

My son plays the bass guitar. Electric. He has chosen the school he is going to based on the fact they have a very well known and good band. His hopes were to play percussion in the Pep or Concert bands with electric bass in the Jazz Band, a band growing an excellent reputation throughout the County.

A no-nonsense band director with amazing talent leads them with a fantastic band team.

It's why he chose the school he's going to and why I'm working extra hours to send him as it's a private Catholic school. He opted out of public again... because of music. His only choice in public schools was a hands on science curriculum where they dig through muck, scuba dive, snorkel, dissect fish, worms, and what not, a program so enthralling to hands on learners, that 300 kids apply for 50 slots.

He was wait listed.

He said to me, "I think it's probably good I didn't get accepted. I don't know what I would have done. I love the music program at one school and the science at the other. The decision was made for me."

He loves science. He loves music. He is going the music route, eventually taking a heavy science load at the Catholic school.

He is excited... excited after hating the last three years. A miserable fit for him at the Middle School he went to, he feels certain none of his choices can compare to the misery of the last three years.

Of course we know... that's not true... it can always be worse. But in his mind, the escape from his own personal hell, taking solace for the last two years in his music, is welcome, and he has... high hopes.

And this is where things took a turn for the odd.

I've been emailing the band director, making sure my son did not miss try outs for Jazz Band, as we missed hearing of the band social. It led to an email conversation as to what my son would like out of band, and it led to the band director asking if Ringo played 'upright bass' as well.

He does not.

And it led to the discussion that musically, if he learned it, he would be even a better fit for their band curriculum and in the long run, would benefit him more so long term in his musical career as big Jazz bands play more upright bass... while the others play electric, and he'd have far more options.

His thought was that Ringo should put aside for now, percussion, and concentrate more on all aspects of bass. Besides, every kid wants to play percussion... he is needed in a bass section.

I was unsure how Ringo would feel about this. He lives on his drumset when he's not playing his bass guitar. Music is becoming his life. So we sat and talked at great length, late last night. His graduation from 8th grade was yesterday morning, with a party with his classmates in the evening.

He is 14 years old. He lives in the moment.

I told him I'd still pay for drum lessons during the week. He could take percussion as an elective when an elective opens up the following year, taking concert band and percussion his sophomore year, Jazz Band in the afternoons. He'd be playing electric with jazz, stand up with concert, and percussion in the class... so he can go into the Pep Band should he so choose.

He wants to travel with the band... something they do in Concert Band.

And he said to me, my kid who loves heavy metal head banging music that makes me half insane, he said to me, "Mom, I love concert music. I love that music too. Yes, I'd like to learn the upright bass..."

And so more emails are going to the band director as I try to figure out how to find an upright bass that is used, where to get him private lessons, and now it appears my son will be living in music in high school.

I just want him... happy.

Nobody will be happy all the time. We will always have trials and tribulations. It is how one handles it that makes the person. If his escape is music, I can think of far worse escapes.

I want him to find a happy place that can settle his soul, some place he can go the rest of his life to be with himself... a place that is HIS place.

I have so much hope for him... I pray this works out.

And... well... his room is going to be full of instruments. And... I like that.

Posted by Boudicca at May 24, 2009 12:47 PM

my older brother -- a fabulous pianist -- was encouraged to learn the string bass in high school.

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at May 24, 2009 03:04 PM

The thing I try to make clear to youngsters starting out in music is that there are a very large number of jobs in that industry. In addition to playing, there are also jobs organizing, in sales, and in the construction of new instruments.

Consequently, the mere fact that music is a very competitive field shouldn't stop them from following that career choice, if that is where the heart is.

Posted by: Carl Brannen at May 24, 2009 08:04 PM

Writersblock- I think he has the potential to really enjoy it. We will see.

Carl- I don't know where his heart lies. I know he enjoys it now, that for the last two years it has provided an escape from the hell he has endured at school, but I'm not sure if that is what he'll do. He does know we'll be supportive of all he pursues, but he really likes the sciences as well and his big dream of course is to own a Ferrari dealership. Heh. As long as he loves music, and has it as something he can do forever, I am happy.

Posted by: Bou at May 24, 2009 08:18 PM

I know for me middle school was the absolute nadir. High School was actually a step up even though I didn't like it much. I was also not able to choose where I went to school - it was the local public.

So I hope that Ringo has an excellent time in HS with his music. There are quite a few years where things will change so if he gets off to a good start at least that will make some decisions much easier.

Posted by: Teresa at May 25, 2009 10:50 AM

I lived and breathed music in high school too. It saved me in so many ways. And I also played a different instrument for each of the types of bands...usually what was needed/missing.

I love hearing how open minded he is to makes me smile!

Posted by: Sissy at May 25, 2009 12:06 PM

My daughter lives and breaths music and has since she was six years old. She is primarily an Irish Music deva (has a CD, gets played on the radio and everything!:), plays fiddle - irish harp - and concertina. But none of those are taught as a major in any university setting in the US so she and I researched and beginning just before High School she began cello so that she could get her bachlors degree on cello in the states before heading to Ireland for a masters on one of her Irish instruments. She has just completed her freshman year at ASU (with a 3.9, thank you very much) and will return from an ASU orchestra trip to China tomorrow. She plays to some degree more than 20 instruments, several very very well. She is happy, so very happy. Some way she will make a living in it, though probably by combining several things. But she is happy!
So, from a similar sort of background let me say - with upright bass he will have many many opportunities so long as he works at it and opens himself up to those opportunities. There is always a need/demand for bass (upright, there are many many bass guitar and percussion players out there, very few upright players!) and if she didn't already play several instruments larger than herself (90 lbs soaking wet) my daughter would likely be playing that too (she has messed around with a few).
Good for you encouraging him. That and research are what we moms are most needed for.

Posted by: patti at May 25, 2009 01:15 PM

I find that those that loved band in school tend to also love classical music, I have several classical CD's and listen to them as much as my other CD's.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at May 26, 2009 08:31 AM

OK, first, I must talk to Patti as Brenna wants to play Irish fiddle. I'm sure I can learn much from her experiences!

As for the upright bass... WOW! As a woman I've always thought it was a completely sexy instrument (not what you want to hear as a mom, I'm sure). I'm glad to hear that he is "open" to it. I' wish we had schools here that we could choose to enroll in that had "specialties".

Posted by: Jody at May 27, 2009 08:38 AM

Way cool! My 13 year old plays violin and the IPod. He loves Kid Rock and AC/ do I. It's fun watching them develop at this stage. The next one's may not be so I'll keep him busy as hell!

Posted by: JihadGene at May 27, 2009 09:41 AM