My Christmas Gift (junior musician bitten by the bug)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Jeff Elkins, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. Jeff Elkins

    Jeff Elkins Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    Johnson City, TN
    Not sure where to start--there's a long backstory involving my GF's shared custody of her daughter, the girl's father (an unengaged custodial parent), and my strong views about children and music all come to bear, but I'll spare some details.
    The girl, H, just turned 13, but isn't an angsty teen. We worked hard to encourage her desire to be in band, where she began on alto sax last year. This year the teacher moved her to tenor, in no small part bc she demonstrated serious aptitude. She's a near ace, insofar as 7th graders are concerned. Not quite an all-star player, but much better than average. She confesses that she had "found her people" in band class, which her mother and I Just Knew would happen. She needed a group, and custodial 'rents weren't assisting in that area. We are super-pleased.
    Anyway, I decided to get her a bass for Christmas. She tried mandolin (w/lessons) a few years ago, but it didn't take for a number of reasons.
    Soooo... confession time: I've always wanted a super short scale bass, so I bought her a used Ibanez Mikro. If it didn't work out, you see... Hey, what can I tell you, I'm a planner, and I figure angles. :)
    We're great friends, and she also lets me parent her if and as necessary. We have a super relationship. She enjoys listening to my bands, and digs all kinds of music--I figured if she took to it, at least I could offer instruction and all kinds of gear discussion, etc. I'm no tenor sax player!
    The pep band plays Crazy Train. It also might be on that mix tape the hero of a recent kids movie made (whole separate thread, that). Late Christmas Day she came downstairs and had the rhythm figured out, and the notes weren't exact, but kind of close... I wasn't sure, but with her mother's encouragement I got out the guitar, plugged her into my rig, and proceeded to teach her the song. The whole thing, including the bass line behind the solo (my favorite part, frankly). Within 2 hours, she had it nailed; by the next day she's playing along with YouTube. No nuance, understand, but her time is good, and her ear is freakin' amazing.
    Then, she starts trying to play this riff she hears in her head. "What's that?" I ask.
    "It's Bruno Mars. Runaway Baby. Here, listen!" And pulls out her phone.
    Guys and gals... another two hours, and we've worked this song up--she can't quite keep up with Jamareo and the band, but omg. *I* haven't even tried to work his parts out for myself yet! H has No Fear. She liked the song, and the opening guitar riff was attractive, and she could sing it... so now she can play it. She gets things right away--slides through runs that exceed her ability to play them, but hears when it's okay to get away with that. Like, knows when the downbeat needs to be plucked, despite the tempo, and doesn't slouch on those points. She just HEARS it.
    Best Christmas gift I ever gave myself. Couldn't help sharing.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2014
  2. Riverrunsred


    Jan 20, 2010
    Central FL
    Cool story man.