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Carol Perkins: Fostering musical ability requires patience

'I'm sure every parent of beginning Grammy winners wanted to shout at one time or another, "ENOUGH!" Perhaps that is why the Young boys ended up with a Practice House! - CAROL
Next earlier column: Carol Perkins: Difficult times can be memorable times

By Carol Perkins

Back in September, Guy's nephew and his wife spent the weekend in Kentucky (from Atlanta) and when they come, we always gather for a meal. Rather than going to a local restaurant, my sister-in-law Carolyn invited us to her house. By the time we all gathered, there were a dozen or so of us. My grandson Joseph was the only child, except Megan's (Jones) baby Piper who soon became the center of attention. Babies bring such joy, and we passed her around like a sack of sugar.

I noticed after the meal Joseph went outside and returned carrying a black case, which was obviously a musical instrument. He went to the living room where the men were gathered and in a few minutes, I heard the sound that only a trombone can make. Having joined the band just days before, he proudly showed what he had learned in only one lesson. Unlike most of us women who would have bragged on how wonderful he sounded, the men continued to talk above him. He blew louder!

His cousin James finally paid attention, having played trombone in high school, and gave it a whirl. Then another blew into the horn. Guy even tried without much luck. They discovered that making a sound come from such a horn was not as easy as it seemed.

The sound drew me to the room and I watched as Joseph carefully took his trombone a part and placed each piece back where it belonged. His one day in band class had given him the confidence to play in front of a crowd no matter how little they appreciated it.

I asked Joseph why he had chosen the trombone since he had indicated he wanted to play drums. "The teacher had enough drummers, so he asked me to play trombone." That worked for him.

I grew up with music. Never a night went by that my dad wasn't in the bedroom playing his trumpet or fiddle. When I was old enough to join the band, I chose the clarinet. Back then a student either bought his own or borrowed one; there were none furnished. When I wasn't playing it, he did. He was much better than I was. A piano stood against the wall in our small living room, and often I sat on the bench banging out top forty tunes with one hand. I know my mother wanted to plug her ears, but she never said a word. No one ever complained about the noise we beginners made.

When he came to visit over Fall Break, he brought his trombone. He can now play "Jingle Bells," likely preparing for a Christmas Concert at his middle school. I listened as if it were the best version of "Jingle Bells" I had ever heard!

We have had three drum sets in the basement, a guitar, an electric guitar, a keyboard, and a banjo in the house. The same piano I played as a child is against the wall in the living room. Occasionally, when I'm alone, I sit down and pick out those old songs I worked on years ago.

Having patience is essential with a musician in the house. I'm sure every parent of beginning Grammy winners wanted to shout at one time or another, "ENOUGH!" Perhaps that is why the Young boys ended up with a Practice House!

My mother, the only non-musician in the house, never told any of us to stop. She just went outside!

This story was posted on 2017-10-12 10:09:15
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