Thursday, 4 April 2013

Music to my Ears

James has been playing the guitar since he was 7 years old.  He started having lessons while he was at Lower School and has continued enthusiastically since then. 

He's pretty good; in fact, he has a bit of a gift for it and loves to play pieces of all kinds, as well as composing his own music. 

He had the opportunity to play some of his own compositions, while he was at Middle School, though since he went to his Upper School, there hasn't been so much chance to perform in concerts, since they prefer groups, orchestra and bands - if they offered one solo slot, they'd have to offer lots and they don't think there is time in a concert.  It is a very large school, so they're probably right, but James has been saying he feels like the poor relation of the music world. 

He does at least have the opportunity to play and compose, as part of his Music GCSE studies.  The group play together and also perform for each other, so it gives him the chance to make music with other people.    

He has started to learn the Double Bass now, which has meant he has more involvement in the music groups at school - in fact, he was so much in demand as an accompanist, that he had to choose one group and stick to that, turning down several other requests because he just doesn't have time.

I posted about how James got a Double Bass - the instrument is a bit old and battered, so it's currently at the repairer's, having new strings and a replacement bridge. 

It'll cost us a fair bit - new strings start at £70 and go up into the hundreds; a new bridge starts at around £50 and also goes up & up.... As it's a student instrument, the shop recommended that we had a basic-but-good set of strings and a basic bridge, rather than spend a very large amount on professional-standard items. 
We have already spent £55 on having the better of the two bows re-strung. It was in a very sad way, with strings coming off and all tatty - completely unusable - so it's great that it is now repaired; it's quite a good bow, made of a nice quality wood - whereas the other bow is plastic and wood.  The quality of the bow makes a difference to the quality of sound achieved, just as the instrument itself will do.  At least a good bow will help James to make the best of his instrument, even if it isn't a particularly high-quality bass. 

Meanwhile, I am regularly treated to a serenade, while I'm busy about the house - especially in the evening, when I'm making dinner in the kitchen.

James is learning a new piece just now.  He's been working very hard at it and already it's sounding lovely.
I feel very lucky to have a child who can play so well - it's lovely to have music played to me every day.  I never get tired of listening to that guitar humming away in the dining room, while I stir up something nice for dinner! 
I'm proud of James - he works so hard at his music and enjoys it very much.  For him, music is the ideal way to relax and unwind; he plays with all his heart and it really is a pleasure to hear him. 


  1. A win-win situation.
    The Man gave his guitar an airing recently, but was very "rusty" after years of not playing. I wish he'd play more often.

  2. Lucky you. One of the things I first loved about the boy was his guitar playing abilities! Double bassists are always in demand too! Keep it up James! x

  3. How nice! We're trying to find a guitar teacher for the boys. They want to learn but lessons are hard to come by out here & the elementary school only teaches the recorder.

  4. I always envy people who can play a musical instrument or are very lucky indeed Lizzie!
    Alison xx

  5. Well done James. I'm sad to say that DD does not practice and I have finally decided that I am wasting money on guitar lessons - after nearly two years she has shown little improvement and I think it is time to stop.

  6. Julie, could it be that she doesn't really like/suit her teacher (or rather, the teacher doesn't suit her)? Maybe a different teacher, with a different approach may be what she needs - or maybe a different instrument is more her thing?


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