Born within our grandchildren is a little bit of their parents. A certain amount of their four grandparents, and a sprinkling of their great grandparents. This smorgasbord of genes making them who they are.
As their grandmother I watch the antics of these little grand boys. Chuckling at the resemblances emerging over the years.
- Listening for abilities and gifts, even encouraging the tiny familiar idiosyncrasies I found in myself.
- Will the grand boys be skilled sportsmen as their father and grandfather and great grandfather were?
- Will they have a quick wit?
- Will the gift of music blossom… Oh I hoped so.
Listening one day to my youngest grand boy singing his little heart out, I was encouraged.
Has the gene from my dad been inherited?
When ever I brought out the various musical instruments I had played as a child, my youngest grand boy’s eyes lit up.
- The gift, the gift! Has he inherited the gift of music?
- Will he sing like a bellbird, accompanying himself on an instrument?
- I birth elation.
Me, his grandma dreamed her dreams, unashamedly.
It isn’t long before small guitars and tiny keyboards are in their home. The old ukulele I was given by my parents when I was six or seven, stripped down, revarnished by my Dad, is introduced to them one day. The grand boys strummed their chord less songs on the four strings.
Also the squeaky school recorders squealed when grandma arrived another time for a weekend visit. Their parents run and hide.
A gift of mouth organs were given upon returning from a European cruise. Possibly never to be seen again, to be lost in the box of toys after grandma returns home. I’m not to know the truth.
Yet, when-ever grandma arrives to visit, these instruments appear from under the bed and from the back of the cupboards. The dust is brushed away, and we begin to play.
The sing a longs with Grandma are enthusiastic.
The younger grand son continues singing like a bellbird, and grows another year older. His small fingers begin to reach around the neck of his guitar, as he persists.
- Believing grandma when she speaks of his gift.
- Desiring to be the musician she believes he is becoming.
On grandma’s ipad using a recording app, we recorded his songs. Creating a four track recording with his unique hip hop song, creating an offbeat rhythm on the keyboard, and accompanying himself on a guitar he can’t yet play. But it rocked!
A few days ago Grandma arrives with another guitar – there’s now a guitar for both grandsons. Needed as the older grandson is learning chords at school – so he has told me.
Now with two chords of grandma’s under their belts, (D and A), and guitars not in perfect tune, we record lesson one on video.
These boys – My child prodigies, – with musical genes birthing and growing as they have turned ten and twelve. They strum along. Changing chords when I tell them to. Keeping the rhythms to a song in their heads. Priceless!
- As their Grandma, I’m ecstatic.
- Enthused – highly motivated to buy them a tuner to fine tune their strings. And replacement guitar strings for the inevitable break.
They are unlikely to become Elvis, or The Bee Gees. Or who ever is the current Justin Beiber of their generation.
But, if a percentage of music ability stays with them throughout their lives, they will enjoy their leisure hours, strumming and singing with their mates.
Why do I teach my grandchildren to play their guitars?
This is why.
And also to relive my own childhood.
- Being a family of five who formed a family musical band – the Powell Quintett.
- Winners of country talent quests.
- Playing at country halls celebrating New Year’s Eve and family 21sts.
I sat goggle eyed as our parents sang together.
- Amazed when my Dad sang and yoddled, accompanying himself on any one of our instruments.
- Singing the ballad of old Peg Leg Jack – eventually Dad struggled to remember the last verses in his latter years.
Yes, this is why I teach my grandchildren the guitar.