music to your ears that stirs the soul every time we hear this, especially
when it comes from your teenage child. This was the heading of an email I
received from my seventeen-year-old son and the almost entertainment story
Like most parents I had certain ideas as
to what skills and talents my child should learn to best serve him as he grew up.
Of course they followed along the lines of the ones I learned and grew to
love. So before we played our first game of catch, basketball or tennis, I
bought him a shiny silver trumpet (when he was only six months old). I
stashed it away for a few years but soon, very soon (at about the age of
three) we started breaking it out and creating some marvelous duets
together, me playing my horn and him sort of singing through his. There
were also incredible virtuoso vocal performances every time we got in the
car for a drive.
Encouraged by his enthusiasm next came a piano and just
like his dad before him, his musical career seemed on it's way.
Then something happens that happens to
so many kids, SCHOOL! and that subtle little thing called peer pressure.
Suddenly all sorts of things become un-cool, especially artistic pursuits
or any music that isn't the latest incarnation of FM radio pop-slop.
Sports are in and band, ballet, book clubs and pants that actually fit
your waist and cover your butt crack are out.
Oh I tried like other parents to pass on
some enlightenment to my son. Explaining that it might not seem cool right
now and actually practicing was a drag, but it would pay off later. After
a few school lessons he gave up the horn. A few years later he told me
some of his friends were starting to learn guitar. This of course around
the age of thirteen becomes a cool instrument ever since the dawning of
the Beatles craze in 1964.
Not surprised at all being the insightful, worldly, soothsayer I am, I
seized the moment to explain to him that in a few short years
friends would actually learn a few cords, grow pubic hair and loose some of
their adolescent stage fright.
they would be onstage being idolized by all those adoring teenage girls
who wouldn't give them the time of day before. Since I of course had first
hand knowledge and wanted my son to reap the benefits I explained how it
was always the singer who really got the girls, not the band guys.
Naturally this is why as I got older I played less and less horn and sang
more and more FM pop-slop ballads.
Having a recording studio and helping
dozens of people learn to sing, I thought maybe this was the right time,
the iron was hot, he'd seen the light, and I could actually pass along a
special skill he'd enjoy his whole life. But I was wrong until this little
miracle came via the information superhighway. I guess it's about time you
read his email:
"You're right again"
I remember one time we were driving in
your car and you said to me "One day you're going to come to me and
say 'Dad, make me a singer'." Well, today me and Bud and James played
at James' house, him on drums, Bud on guitar, and I ATTEMPTED to sing, but
I failed miserably. Since you know all about this stuff, I'm wondering if
you know of any books or tapes or anything that might make me a rock
Now read it again but pretend it came
from your teenager and substitute for the word "singing" -
ballet, tennis, painting, violin, karate, acting, swim class, riding or
anything else you wanted your child to learn but wasn't cool at the time
or that age.
Simply music to your ears, huh?
Thanks Christopher for such a
magnificent literary work of art and permission to print it.