Finally. The recessive Songwriter gene has revealed itself in my Grandson Rick.

          I feel like dancing' in the street. For years I've been trying to teach my children and grandchildren my love for and skill at creating and playing music. My grandson Rick was the only one who showed promise and it took some time with him off on his own for the music to truly start flowing through his veins. I'd worked with him off and on for years gifting him guitars, pedals, effects and one on one personal lessons. His playing skill slowly yet steadily progressed. He also took up trombone on the side with his high school band. All very cool. 

        Rick and his sister Rachael were raised in the Mormon faith. After completing high school he needed to go on a "mission" for two years. Kind of like a commitment of service to those in need. We thought he'd be going to Africa or somewhere like that but, after the church "Elders" went over his school work, personal history, etc. he was sent to Provo, Utah. Mormon Central. Go figure. While there he found a concert pianist and a violinist among his fellow mission dudes and they formed a band with Rick playing guitar and doing vocals. The got permission to take their musical equipment with them on visits to care facilities like old folks homes, extended care and assisted living facilities. They'ed talk their talk and then break out the instruments and entertain the patients, handicapped, recovering and advanced aged individuals. Ricks band fit his churches needs beautifully. The patients loved it. Their requests led Rick to expand his song base and become a better player.

        Before leaving on his mission Rick had written one song for his girlfriend at the time and it was really pretty good. I was impressed although, after so many failures with my other children and grandchildren, I thought it might be a fluke. Thank goodness he's now proved me wrong. His bandmates were finely trained musicians who'd played concert halls, etc. prior to going on their mission. They liked what Rick was writing and, I believe", nudged him toward a deeper understanding of music theory and the writing process. Rick saved up whatever he could and bought the top of the line Finale songwriting software and never looked back.

        He got home from his mission back in October. Lately he's been coming over about once a week to demo, work on arraignments, ask for advice and try out different song parts using my numerous effect pedals, guitars and amps. I've been loving this.

       One big change in his playing that occurred while he was gone was pretty much losing his pick and really embracing finger style. He's gotten good at it. I can copy what he's doing but usually prefer to stick to my own hybrid pick / fingers method. It's what I've been doing forever and I can't really be helping him much if I have to practice finger picking just to keep up with him.

        The big note here is ......... he's now got four or five songs that are real attention getters. Sometimes when he's in my studio working on trying out this or that for the next four measures or this line of lyric verses that I sit there looking at me forty years ago. I can almost guess what's going on in his head and, quite often, find that his final choice matches the one I would have made so many years ago. 

       I'm no longer really trying to teach him the instrument. I'm focused on his songwriting. That was my personal reason for picking up the guitar in the first place. Songwriting came first and was far more important than the instrument. Instrumental skills were developed as songs required them.

       I look forward to each of Rick's visits. Not only as a grandfather but as a fellow songwriter. I'm impressed. I'm happy. Rick makes my day.


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