Busy, busy!

I’m starting this post now, but will edit it later. It’s been months since I last posted on the blog.  I have a great excuse:  two very busy boys!

Between school, music, friends and visiting Washington, DC for Spring Break, I have had very little time.

Now the boys’ acting and modeling requests have increased.  I can’t post photo or video of them working (as a writer, I’m very aware of copyright and non-disclosure issues).  I’m the taxi service who keeps them grounded!

  
Nick had a recital yesterday for both piano and guitar.  He did great!   We are so proud of him!  I’m linking his performances here.

Nick on piano: Little March composed by Daniel Gottlob Turk
Nick: Hop, Skip, Jump on guitar (no pick)
Nick and teacher, Rebecca, playing Tom Doolin
He did a great job and had a lot of fun!

Alex’ acting career seems to be taking off.  Who can resist those dimples and sparkly personality?  His drumming (according to my ear, and his teacher, AJ Vallee) is really getting great!  I love listening to him practice.

Alex mastering his timing on drums
  

Nick on set w Maggie the wonder dog (also an actor)

  

Alex on set w his costar, Frankie, and the directors of the shoot (permission of directors)

School-wise:  I officially have 2nd graders!  The boys graduated into 2nd grade at Greek School.  They’ll soon end the school year in 1st grade Spanish Immersion at their amazing public school.

I can’t believe since I last wrote on this blog, my kids have turned 7, and between growing in stature, physically, and growing in every aspect of the creative arts, they are two happy, fun-loving, lovebugs!

  
Alex at practice on his Pearl drum kit

 One thing I can share (since it’s printed).  The boys’ feature in April 2015 Family Fun magazine)

  ModelWire photo

 

Alex: The master of all things percussion!

10914839_10205174229251065_2041785588487811827_o

Alex on a “C” harmonica jamming with Mike on banjo and Tino on bongos at Open Mike – Slaters

It’s interesting how as a baby, Alex never liked the toy drums or banging toys we had hanging out around the house.   I think it’s because his arms and hands were so weak, he could barely hold a spoon, never mind a drumstick.   Persistence (and a lot of PT and OT) have definitely paid off!

When Alex told me he wasn’t interested in guitar after trying it out at age 4 alongside Nick during in-home lessons, I thought to myself “He’ll find something…”

cajon drums

cajon drums

Once Nick really got going with the guitar, I could tell he felt left out.    I wracked my brain, thinking of what he could do, musically.   He loves music as much as Nick and he was asking to do something.   That day, we drove down a country road and saw a sign.   It was DEFINITELY a “sign”!

149

Alex and his cool light up drum sticks

The sign said “Drumming is FUN!”   It had a phone number.   I called the number and AJ Vallee, Alex’s now drum teacher, answered.  Alex had just turned 6 two months before. I’m lucky AJ’s daughter is the same age and also drums… because he decided to take Alex on as a student.

013

Alex has discovered a love of percussion.  It’s helping his hand and arm strength, thankfully, holding those sticks and bashing away.   He loves drums of every kind.   He has been asking for bongo drums since Christmas, and will get a set for his 7th birthday in a few weeks.   He also has been asking for cajon drums, which are Peruvian.  It’s very cool, a box that sounds like nearly an entire drum kit.   He wants one so when he goes to Open Mike or jams with other artists, he doesn’t need to haul his big Pearl drum kit around.   He can just bring a box or bongos!

030

Alex at age 4 with the Yamaha guitar that my sister got The Duo for Christmas

Jamming the blues on a Friday night with the great Amanda Cote….

The Duo jamming the blues with Amanda Cote at Slaters

The Duo jamming the blues with Amanda Cote at Slaters

Friday night was a very special night for Nick and Alex.   They had played on a Thursday night during school vacation at Slaters (they had no school the next day, so were allowed to stay until closing at 11pm).   This amazing musician, Amanda Cote, showed up near the end after a gig at another venue.   After hearing the Duo play, she asked them to jam with her and play at her show the following Friday.

Nick had played his original composition Madelyn’s song to a packed house on his brand new Ibanez acoustic electric guitar.   I had lucked out and found it at a local thrift store.  It needed to be restrung and the bridge reglued, but it was in mint condition.   Nick was beyond thrilled to get a full-size guitar and no more mic-ing up his junior Yamaha.   His new guitar plugs into a speaker/amp directly!  We placed Flat Stanleys on the mic stand because two kids from Florida sent us the Flat Stanleys and we wanted to share the fun of the evening!

Andreas and I brought the boys in and Amanda played a great set.   Her set ranged from contemporary songs on the radio right now, to 90s alt-rock, to the blues (her voice is a cross between Janis Joplin and Melissa Etheridge), to 80s and 70s Stevie Nicks.   We loved it.   The Duo were her special guests and when she called them up to jam the blues, they hopped right up to roll with the blues.

They had the best time!   It was a great experience for them.   Amanda was so kind and loving towards the boys.   Needless to say, Andreas and I were very proud of them and in awe of Amanda’s voice and musical abilities.

Started from the bottom, now we’re here…

I started a Youtube page when the boys first started playing in public places and spaces (which happened totally by accident).   If at some point they want to use this and the Youtube/Vimeo space (or whatever else is available) for everything from band camp to Berklee… they’ll look back on their journey and see how much they’ve evolved as musicians, singers and songwriters (especially the Dude, who began writing his own compositions at age 6 on both guitar and piano)

Their journey started when my identical twin sister gave The Duo a guitar for Christmas when they were 4.  It was a great Yamaha FG1 for youth.   Nick has outgrown that guitar and doesn’t know it yet, but he’s getting a Fender Squier HSS Stratocaster for his 7th birthday in a few weeks.

Immediately, both Nick and Alex started taking in-home acoustic guitar lessons.   Alex quickly decided guitar wasn’t for him, but Nick was fascinated.   I wasn’t enthralled with his instructor, however, who was a great guitarist but had a tough time teaching my kids because he didn’t have a lot of experience teaching children.

Last year, through a good friend whose son is musically gifted, I found a great teacher for Nick and he has soared ever since.   Imagine my surprise when last October he composed his first song “Madelyn’s Song”.   It’s really beautiful, and he was able to write down the notes on paper, as well as commit the song to memory.   It will always be my favorite song he ever wrote, because he was only 6 and 1/2 when he wrote it.   And, because it’s beautiful.   His classmate, Madelyn, is his muse.   He loves her and writes every original composition for her.

So how was Alex (the Duder) going to be entertained?   Well, he has a limited attention span… so I knew bashing on the drums would suit him.   I was totally right.   He has an amazing drum teacher who is in quite a few excellent bands, has an ECE teaching degree, and has put him on the right path to learning.   I’m very grateful because music allows both of the boys the ability to express their feelings where words cannot take them.   It also keeps them busy!

They started playing in public by accident.   Last Thanksgiving we were invited to a Thanksgiving dinner.   We lost power at the dinner and Nick just happened to have his guitar in the car.   He asked me if he could play it.   The hosts (close friends) said, “Of course!”   Nick sat and played almost all afternoon until the power finally came on.   He was the entertainment… and the musicians sitting at that table invited him to start playing at the Open Mike night he now frequents.

They were that impressed with his discipline and devotion to music and to his guitar (I digress, but he’s also picked up piano and is equally disciplined and devoted to piano also).   He was invited to play at the Open Mike event, and the rest is history.   If I let them, they would play every Thursday.   I try and let them play only during school vacations or when a few weeks have passed.

IMG_1441

Nick and two new original compositions he wrote: Racerback and Love Song. He wrote a 3rd song, Snow Day, on that same day.

A Musical Life Fully Lived from the Start

Welcome to our corner of the world.

This blog is dedicated to my 6 year old fraternal twin sons (otherwise known as the Duo) and the adventures they encounter on their musical journey…

From infancy, they’ve been surrounded by music. From Greek lullabyes, to Top 40, from Spanish rhythms, to punk rock… the boys have been heavily influenced by music.

Alex and his Pearl drum set

Alex and his Pearl drum set

They notice music all around them. Birds’ sweet songs, cawing crows, chattering jays. The sound of rushing water. The breeze playing with leaves. All of these things have helped The Dude (Nick) especially. He started writing his own music at age 6.

Nick perfecting his "guitar face" on his Yamaha guitar

Nick perfecting his “guitar face” on his Yamaha guitar

Like most kids their age, they know the words to every song on the radio. The difference is, they can pick up an instrument and play some of those songs. They can also create a cohesive sound of their own.

These pictures show them playing acoustic guitar and harmonica with veteran musicians who respect their young age and their artistry. They are absolutely fearless playing in public and with more experienced singer/songwriter/musicians. I’ve helped instill that fearless attitude to life, but it’s already in their hearts to be that way

IMG_1575Alex (the Duder) jamming on the harmonica at Open Mike night at Slater’s in Bolton, MA

The Duo jamming on Wagon Wheel with some amazing musicians!

IMG_1445