Paying Forward- Sharing Guitars and the Love of Music

ellie guitar (1)My brother once gave The Girl a guitar for Christmas. He told me that it was a beginner’s model, and that if she really like playing, that she could have one of his nicer ones. With her busy schedule, we never managed to fit in formal lessons. She used You Tube tutorials to begin, and had at least half a dozen friends giving her tips a-plenty.

Capos, tuners, more picks were all requested, but she never asked for the lessons. I’m pretty sure that she understood the impossibility of cramming in one more thing during her waking hours. In two years, I am amazed by what she can do, and she has inspired me to try to learn how to play our piano that sits lonely in our front room.

My brother held true to his promise, but took a slightly different route. It turns out that my kids have another guitar-playing uncle, The Brother-In-Law, and he brought a steel-stringed acoustic Fender for The Girl as a parting gift before she leaves for college this fall! And as for my brother? Last year, he gifted The Boy his own beginner’s guitar for Christmas, too. We managed to cram in lessons for him, and soon The Girl insisted that he needed a better guitar. The Boy received my brother’s latest gift- a lovely, Spanish, steel stringed acoustic guitar.

So what do we do with two beginner model, classical guitars? We do my brother the honor of sharing them with kids at the music store who would appreciate them! That’s what we did. We are grateful for our generous uncles… it was time to share with others.

IMG_7724Meet three-year-old Louis, and his big sister Lilian. He marched into the music shop a couple of weeks ago with his mom in tow. Upon seeing the ukuleles, he exclaimed, “Look, mommy! Little guitars!” He then picked up one, held it properly, and looked like he owned the instrument. After I asked, mom Jessie said that he would be delighted to take my son’s 3/4 sized newbie guitar. One down.

IMG_7723We also met Aaron, a student at our local high school. Although he already had an electric model, Aaron was nearby while I asked my son’s teacher if he knew who might be able to use our 7/8th sized nylon stringed classical guitar. I just asked him outright if he would like it. Aaron is not a 7/8ths sized guy, but, I’m sure he will make do (the guitar is bigger than it looks in this pic). He promised to share the guitar with his school’s music department when he is ready to move on to a different guitar. Two for two!

If I decided to learn to play, I will have to fight with The Husband for playing time on the Epiphone he won at Vidcon this summer… I’m up for that!

Taking the Triplets to the San Diego Symphony for a Musical Triple Play

IMG_6647We took “The Triplets” out to the symphony last night. “The Triplets?” Well, the family joke is that The Girl is 18, The Boy is 14, and between the two of them it is like having twins of 16. Now throw in The Boyfriend, and you get… 15-year-old TRIPLETS!

When I was young, I don’t remember going to the symphony, the theater, or operas. I don’t think we ever visited any of the cultural venues of Los Angeles County. There’s a lesson for aspiring parents- decades later, your kids probably won’t remember if you took them to specific activities! Save a boat load of cash and make up trips, and add in some family anecdotes to make it all seem real: “Oh yes, child, don’t you remember going to the Big City Ballet to see ‘Die Fledermaus?’ Strauss was your favorite as a toddler! Yes, you were three, and so excited to meet the Prima Ballerina backstage that you were sick all over your father’s shoes, so we had to take you home immediately after the show.”

IMG_6656No, seriously though, we went to ball games, on fabulous camping trips all the way up the coast to see redwoods and old family friends, and so many field trips as a school child, my parents didn’t need to revisit the La Brea Tar Pits or Natural History Museums with us. We’d covered that with the schools. My father usually had one of the great Southern California Jazz stations playing on these drives thereby placing a love of Coltrane, Davis, Bill Evans, and Brubeck in my heart. Thanks, dad, I am forever grateful!

IMG_6652I did, however, want to go to symphonies, ballets, operas and other events as I came into my own adulthood, and wanted to bring my children. When they were very young, both accompanied us to Indianapolis’s wonderful outdoor jazz festival- the Indy Jazz Fest, but no symphony or theater. Poor children, no Die Fledermaus for them, they had to settle for B.B. King, Keb’ Mo’ and more of our family’s favorites, like Los Lobos, Buddy Guy, Susan Tedeschi… the list went on.

IMG_6655Last night’s concert was the season finale for the San Diego Symphony. What a fabulous choice of pieces they performed! We love Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Brahms’s Symphony No. 2. We were also introduced to a newer composer, Aaron Jay Kernis. His 1990 “Musica Celestis” was amazing- particularly because I don’t tend to like newer compositions.

A wonderful evening overall. And I love the architectural details found in the symphony hall and snapped a few photos to hold me over until next season. I hope you enjoy them, too!

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How did I NOT Know About Postmodern Jukebox?!?

Sometimes, social media gets it just right.

Thanks to a friend of The Girl for sharing this video on Facebook a couple days ago:

I could go on a bit more about the flotsam and jetsam adrift in the seas of the internet… but I won’t. I’ll just leave you with the links to see and hear more from Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox.

Here’s where to find Postmodern Jukebox on Facebook (which is where I lifted that nifty black and white photo featured above)

Another video from their You Tube channel, ScottBradleeLovesYa,  Jason Derulo/Snoop Dogg’s “Wiggle done up vintage 1920’s style. A Must Watch for the tap dancing alone!

Now go skip on over to You Tube for some fabulously reimagined tunes!