Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Dead Donkeys

Pirate Pete, like so many kids, started his musical career playing the recorder. He did pretty well, and managed to pick up reading music quite easily. Last year his previous school did a good thing. They did a series of events getting musicians in with different instruments. Heavens know why, but he decided he thought the saxophone was cool (which it is).

So, a year later, and a changed school we start him on the sax. I thought he’d pick it up easily. I was wrong. The autumn was horrid. He’d do his practice, but the sound was truly like a dying donkey. He even seemed to regress in his ability to read music. Though we never talked to the man I got the feeling his teacher was just going through the paces with Pirate Pete. Both LL and I thought it likely he’d just chuck it in.

So over Christmas we agreed with him to give it one last chance. One of us would work with him, and, if by the end of the next term, he still didn’t like it, he could stop. He and I seemed to click in his practices. Just a dad and son thing I guess. We worked hard over Christmas, sometimes doing 2 or 3 short practices in a day.

Something clicked. He started to get it, and the dying donkey died. I won’t say all the sounds that come out of his big brass sax are totally melodic, but he’s good. His teacher has woken up as well. We now pass notes back and forth to each other on what to work on, where he needs focus. I only practice with him at the weekends, but its doing the trick.

What’s really pleasing is the big grin he gives when he does a whole tune right. He’s got a way to go yet, but the raw talent is there. He seems to particularly get on with the fast jazzy tunes. This is a good thing if he sticks with the sax. His teacher just came back and said he thinks he’s ready to sit his grade 1 exams soon. The kid’s only seven, so this is doing pretty well. I couldn’t be more chuffed.


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