Not sure if I mentioned it before, but my husband is giving my son guitar lessons. They’re about 3 weeks into it, with a 15-20 minute lesson most days of the week.
My husband, by the way, is a classical guitarist with a Master’s degree in Performance from New England Conservatory. He teaches in both a middle school and a college, performs, and now – teaches our son.
Bill (my husband) was kind of hesitant about teaching Alex – it’s not easy to teach – really teach – your own child. And eventually, if Alex wants to keep going, Bill may have someone else teach him. But for now, the lessons are here, and Alex can attend class in just his Shrek underpants if he wants to.
The other thing about the lessons is that Bill didn’t want to force them. He’s been asked (and so have I, actually) if the kids play guitar yet, and people have been surprised when the answer has been no. But you can’t force music lessons down a kid’s throat and expect them to be passionate about music. At least, that’s not the way Bill wanted to do it. So he waited, and just…played guitar like usual, practicing at home for concerts or whatever. And eventually, Alex expressed a desire to “play guitar like Daddy.”
Alex has a nice guitar – it’s a real guitar, just 3/4 size. And, as a Mommy, I have to say that watching Alex play, with his little face all serious and intent on the music, and his correct posture, his hands where they belong on the strings and frets, and his bare foot on the footstool – it’s unbearably adorable.
It’s been hard to get a good shot of Alex playing because if he sees me approach with the camera, he looks up and grins like a madman, and the adorable factor is rather diminished.
But recently, while family was here last week, Alex performed his first paying concert (really! He got a dollar from his uncle!) for an audience. I took a few pictures – they didn’t come out great from a technical standpoint, but still – they’re priceless to me.
And then, of course, he has to take his final bow…
Pretty good, huh? Only 6 years and one month and he’s already played his first paying gig.
And then there’s Julia.
Julia is two years younger than Alex, and while she definitely has shown interest in playing guitar, she isn’t really interested in the LEARNING HOW TO part of it. So even though she wants equal time (mainly when Alex is having a one-on-one lesson with Daddy and she wants in on the attention), once it’s her turn, she isn’t interested in what Bill has to say or teach. She prefers to just play and sing.
Yesterday Bill did Alex’s lesson and then Julia wanted a lesson. They went downstairs to the basement, where Bill has a guitar that he lets the kids play. After a little while, Bill came upstairs and asked if I wanted to watch Julia’s performance. I said sure, and headed down. Bill brought the DVD camera.
And there was Julia, sitting on her little tiny chair, holding Daddy’s big guitar. Bill stood nearby. He asked Julia if she was ready, and she nodded, so he started recording and announced:
“Presenting…Miss Julia Maker!”
After a few straggling claps from me, Julia began.
She held the guitar neck with her left hand, and strummed confidently with her right.
And she sang:
“The ants go marching one by two, hurrah, hurrah!
The ants go marching one by two hurrah, hurrah!
The ants go marching one by two, the little one……
And then she slammed the guitar, strings down, onto the carpet and stalked away, muttering, “Oh, I don’t know it.”
She apparently is more a student of the Pete Townsend school of guitar abuse.