Mr. James was Jack’s kindergarden teacher. He played the guitar. He integrated music into every part of the class. They sang all sorts of songs.
Albaquerque is my turkey
Zipp e di do dah
All I really need
The star spangled banner
and many more…
Every song was accompanied with Mr. James on the guitar. My favorite was Zipp e di do dah. They assembled on their carpet squares and Mr. James played and sang loudly. It was amazing to hear those 30 kids singing out loud.
Jack asked for a guitar for Christmas. Most mornings he’d wake up and strum and pick at the strings. He wouldn’t play anything that I could identify. His songs were random chords that he made up and stop-start rhythms. That little guitar was out of a box at Walmart. $30. I couldn’t get it tuned up. Friends would come by and try to tune it. It never worked. Jack didn’t care. He would ask me “Dad, did you hear my guitar playing? I’m getting really good.” I’d say “Absolutely you are!”
One morning he was dressed for church. He spent the 30 minutes leading up to our departure strumming his guitar. I got this photograph.
Some friends of ours were in a rock band in the 90’s called Moonpools and Caterpillars. They had a hit song titled “hear” the music video is here.
Jay Jay, the guitarist of the band volunteered to teach Jack and his two boys how to be a band. Jack learned some chords and they played a couple of gigs. One of them was a church event for the youth in the church. When the curtain rose up for the band (Wrinkly Sumos) none of the teenagers in the audience knew what to think. Jack was 8 by this time and the oldest member of the band was 12. The lead singer, Byron, was 9. They played their first song and the audience was stunned. They played their second (and last) song and the teenagers started to understand. This rock band ROCKED!
It’s amazing what you can do with a little desire and a bona fide rock star coach.