Today, Pranksters, I share not my story, but the story my son, Ben, tells. To give you some background as to why this story matters, I suggest reading this and this first.

And now, Pranksters, I give you my firstborn son, Ben.

Music has always been important to me.  Somehow, I never got the chance to really shine with my violin, until 5th grade.

The day before the concert, I was practicing and giving my mom, dad, and brother a concert. During my last song, I finally did the last bit of the song right. I played it right, it sounded right and it felt right.

After I played the last note right, my mom, dad, and brother clapped loud – my dad even whistled with his fingers.

“Great Job! Ben!” My Mom exclaimed.

“Yah! Ben! Amazing Job!” My Brother agreed.

Then my Mom said something I will never forget. “Ben… you have amazing talent, I will say! But… it’s up to you what you do with it!”

I will never forget those words.

I finished my practice and went up to dinner, wondering what those words meant.

The next night was my big concert. I was getting ready – I put on my pale-yellow dress shirt, my pants, my socks and shoes. “I’m busy as a bee,” I thought to myself. I grabbed my violin and went downstairs.

“Break a leg!” my Mom said encouragingly.

“Good Luck!” my Brother exclaimed.

“I’ll do my best” I promised, then grinned. We went out to the car and I got in. I was really nervous. Nervous as a Scardy Cat. My hands were shaking. The whole way to the auditorium, I thought about what my Mom had said. When we got to the building, my mom and dad whispered, “Good luck!”

I whispered back “Thanks!”

They went and sat down in their seats as I went to warm up with my group. My Orchestra Teacher gave us a pep talk before wishing us good luck. We got on stage and I craned my neck to look for my parents. As usual, I don’t see them beyond the stage lights. Our music teacher talks for a bit; her last words were “These guys have worked really hard. I hope you enjoy their music and thank you for coming out here tonight. Ladies and Gentlemen the 5th grade Orchestra!” she exclaimed.

We started to play. I played better than ever; I played perfectly for the first song. The second song, I’d played better than the first. During the last song, I remembered my mom’s words “It’s up to you what you do with your talent, Ben.”

So I tried to show of my talent to the world. When I was done playing, I felt like a new person. I knew music was my real talent. The audience went wild, so wild you couldn’t even talk without somebody yelling “What?”

We bowed and I think I even saw my dad wink at me. If, of course, that was my dad.

We came back after the applauding, screaming and going wild. My family congratulated me. I knew my mom knew that I knew that music was my talent. We celebrated over McDonald’s that night.

The Ben that walked into the auditorium was different than the Ben that walked out. I had accomplished something I thought I couldn’t do. I thought so many doubtful things. I was so nervous that my hands shook. But now? Now I know that…

Music is me. Music is in my blood. Music is my nature.

And THIS is why we’re taking a trip to NashVegas this summer, just the two of us. It’s time to teach my son the history of music.

33 thoughts on “Music Is My Nature

  1. The HS music department is traveling to Nashville over spring break for exactly the same reason. If you are interested, I’ll give you the details on where they will be visiting so that you can add those places to your list.

  2. Ben, you are amazing. To love music, to live music, to feel it in your bones as part of who you are is amazing. But to know this at your age, well, you are one special guy. And never forget that you have a momma that loves you and supports you and believes in you, not just because you are her child, but because you are who you are. One of my favorite quotes I pass onto you: “Don’t dream it…Be it”

  3. Dear Ben,
    I like your post a lot. I’m a mom, and I have a son who plays the violin, too! He’s a little older than you are. Music is in his blood, too. He has played solos in contests, and he has gone to music camp in the summer. In fact, he’s going there for a month in June. I will miss him a lot, but I know he is going to have a great time playing his violin.
    Your mom is right when she says what she did. It’s up to you what to do with your talent just like it’s up to my son with his talent. You have so much to look forward to. 🙂

  4. Ben, I am reading this to my son in the morning. You set a wonderful example of believing in yourself. Congrats on the awesome concert!

    Becky, you are raising one hell of a kid.

  5. It is a rare & precious gift, Ben, to find purpose and passion in this life. You have been blessed. Congratulations on a fabulous performance!

  6. What a wonderful post. I just discovered Aunt Becky today, and I am sold. Thank you, Ben, for sharing your thoughts and feelings about doing something hard and at the same time, something that you love.

  7. And THIS is why, in this age of budget cuts with every non- core-academic program potentially on the chopping block, music MUST be spared.

    Bless you, Ben. Once you’ve internalized music, you have a gift that no one can ever take from you.

  8. That is AWESOME! My oldest son has a tremendous musical talent (he plays the viola) and it has already given him amazing opportunities – and he’s only 14! With proper encouragement and practice, I’m certain Ben will be a very accomplished violin player!!

  9. Aunt Becky,

    I’m very glad Ben has the violin. It will, I hope, be a life-long means of self-expression, comfort, and communication with the world at times when words simply will not do.

    If his dad can manage it at the house, Ben needs a piano. *(It will be good for the other children as well.) It need not be a new piano, but it must be in sufficiently good condition to be adequately tuned, because it otherwise might drive Ben to distraction. For that reason, sometimes a not-terribly expensive digital piano is the way to go, but get the full 88 keys and a “digital piano” versus a “keyboard that someone sold at a yardsale because his grandchild no longer wanted it. (There’s a reason his grandkid no longer wanted it.) I can’t go into it here, and you may not even read this, but there’s a difference between a “keyboard” and a “digital piano.”

    If Dave chooses not to go with an acoustic piano (sometimes you can get these for a steal as well, but they’re more cumbersome to lug around) try to have a piano technician, or at least someone who knows his or her way around pianos, check it out much as you’d have an auto mechanic or at least a semi-expert check out a new car before you made a purchase.

    My reason for wanting Ben to have access to a piano is that the keys and sounds on a piano are linear. Facing the piano, the sounds from left to right proceed from high to low. To a musical child — often particularly to one with autistic tendencies — this all makes perfect sense. When Ben reaches his first formal theory class — where and when that is depends upon what high school program you choose for him; it may not happen until college — he’ll already have the nuances of the intervals worked out in his head; he’ll just need names for the simultaneous or one-after-another tones he hears. While his music theory classmates will be struggling to understand aspects of tonality, he’ll be looking at them, wondering what is the big deal. He may even learn to play the piano without formal piano instruction based just on what he’s learned though violin instruction and what he innately knows.. (He also may not, but having access to a piano will be a positive force in his life.)

    I understand that your means are limited. Put this one on Dave or even on another relative. And don’t settle for a” keyboard.” He needs a digital or acoustic piano, and if it’s acoustic, it must be tunable.

    I’m sorry to come across as so bossy, but this is one of the few things I actually know anything about. It’s great that he has his violin, and that will probably always be his major instrument, but find someone who will get him a piano as well.


  10. We’re worried about you. Please let us know you’re ok (or if you’re not ok, let us know so we can send good thoughts, vibes, prayers).

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