I rehearsed the musicians. One rehearsal I heard some notes that didn't belong in the saxophone part, but it was just a couple of homeless June Bugs. I found a nice home for them in my stomach.
(Kids: buy my whole calendar! $7 at the Family Music Center, 4110 SW 9th, Des Moines Iowa!)
The Music Wars
Balzar the Terrible grimmaced. His forces were mighty, and his weapons ruthless, but the enemy had not been moved. The pounding of his 4/4-megaton bombs had been steady, and yet in the very thick of the smoke and explosions, Harmonius had been spotted directing a Staff of Light infantry toward the very center of Balzar's dark, cruel offensive.
"Foe! You dare test my finest fiends, you fool?" Balzar's voice boomed over his 10 Gigawatt Subwoofers from Hell. "You presume to pit your measly forces against my spirits who have been solidly entrenched, lo, these past five years? You seriously think you can pull out, in a day, what I have planted and watered with every dissonance invented by our Great Dark Lord? Hah! I laugh at your folly!"
Harmonius looked up. He did not answer with words, but with a smile so full of joy that Balzar, trembling, nearly dropped his weapons.
"Have you gone mad," Balzar shouted, "to take such an expedition with such cheer? Do you not realize what will happen to your naive forces when I signal my trumpets to sound the charge?"
But Harmonius's response was even greater happiness, laughing with joy in very anticipation of Balzar's trumpet calls, as happy as a child who has just discovered that those vegetables, so dreaded for so many years, don't taste that bad, after all; that, in fact, a little butter makes them taste as good as dessert!
Balzar signaled his trumpets, but not with the evil, mocking laughter he had planned. Rather, he gave the signal with barks of urgency because Harmonius was getting too close. A response could be no longer delayed.
All the darkness at Balzar's command rushed upon Harmonius. The greatest bombs, the sharpest arrows, and what fierce lightning bolts -- each capable of melting a hundred ordinary swords! Balzar's demons rushed in hand-to-hand combat, screaming curses: "Die! Kill yourselves, hopeless scum! Slay your children, to spare them the pathetic existence you know! Curse your parents, for their 'gift' to you of lifelong misery! Curse your God, for allowing our wicked forces to prevail! Worship General Satan, for he holds your worthless souls in his flaming fingers to devour them in a moment!" Words carrying these messages were set to a jumble of sounds which they called "music", though anyone who still has their hearing would recognize it as the wailing of Hell.
But Harmonius's Light Brigade could not be dimmed. This battle was not to be like other battles. No longer would Balzar's most feared crawl across the desolate, scarred landscape unchallenged. Harmonius's brigade shone, and not all the darkness of Hell could dim it by a single watt! The brigade marched on, mindful of the destruction all around but, as if by mere effort of concentration, untouched.
Jimmy took off his headphones. He turned off his favorite CD, "Black Hairy Death". He considered popping in the newest rage, "Cruel Lust". But strange sounds wafted in from the living room. It was like music he had never heard before: as peaceful as Doctor's Office Music, yet with an energy he had not known in such quiet music.
Jimmy burst through the door to see his dad adjusting the volume on the Home Events Center Console. Screwing up his face into his most contemptuous look possible, and straining his throat to produce the greatest possible mocking in a human voice, Jimmy announced, "What's THAT?"
Dad only smiled. This was not to be like previous wars. Dad expressed a confidence, this time, that made Jimmy's heart sink. Dad only answered "Mozart" and looked away again.
Jimmy recovered and charged again: "Who is Mote, and what do you mean by calling that 'art'?"
Dad rose up and walked easily towards Jimmy. Jimmy had been hoping for some anger that he could work with. Some hostile, frustrated rhetoric which he could tease and twist and play like a piano. But no, wait -- what is this, kindness? What is he thinking of? He is still walking towards me. What is he going to do when he gets here? Slap me? That would provide some useful ammo, but he looks too happy. But what else could he have in mind? Should I run, or wait to see? Oh no, surely not THAT! No, he isn't going to -- "
Jimmy figured it out too late to run. He was caught, like a screw in a vise, turning, twisting, but caught inextricably in the iron grip, of a giant, smothery, suffocating hug!
Jimmy was so grateful his gang hadn't yet implemented its threat to install a spy camera outside the window!
"Jimmy," dad was blathering, "Mommy and I have been studying the world you have been living in, and we don't believe you understand some of the choices you have been making. You know that we regard Choice as a sacred gift of God, and we still want you to make all the choices in your life. But it has occurred to us that where alternatives are unavailable, there is no choice; and where alternatives are unknown, they are unavailable. When you think a bad choice is really good, or a good choice is really bad, just because you don't know all the facts, then you are unequipped to make that choice; because if you make a decision while you are deceived, you will choose the opposite of what you really want, and of what you would choose, if you knew the truth."
Jimmy only half followed the train of thought, but he knew he didn't like where it was headed. He knew he needed to race ahead to a switch yard, and pull some switches, or the next thing down the line, Jimmy had a feeling, he might lose his unlimited access to the best music in the world.
Jimmy knew the shortest route to freedom was through a fight. When someone loves you, they pay attention to you. They care whether you have everything you need, and they get worried when you are hurting yourself. Get someone like that to quit loving you, and they will leave you alone.
"Git away from me", Jimmy demanded. "I don't want your cooties. Why can't I have a stepdad, like all my friends? Stepdads leave you alone!"
Dad didn't take the hint! He took one of those hairy, icy, lice-laden hands of his and laid one on Jimmy's shoulder and just kept talking!
"Yes, I know. Stepsons and stepdads have a late start in learning to love each other. It's hard enough, when you start from birth, not to put obstacles in front of love, isn't it?"
Jimmy just looked down and glowered. Dad's light wasn't going to be put out so easily, this time.
"Mom and I have been reading about the effects of different kinds of music. You know, when I was a boy..."
At that fresh concept, Jimmy's eyes darted to his dad's with a look of shock.
"...we didn't need 'research' to be certain that certain music, and certain other entertainment, was bad for you, and shouldn't be furnished to children. Parents let their common sense tell them what was bad, and censored it, and only let their children experience the good stuff. But today parents have so many researchers telling them how much 'choice' they should give their children, that parents need still more researchers to confirm for them their impressions about choices which are simply unacceptable.
"Well, now I have that research."
Groan. Mom and dad have just read another book. Now life is going to take another 180 degree turn. Oh great. Just one more know-it-all theory from Mr. and Mrs. High and Mighty.
Then dad did something a bit out of character. He squatted, so that he was a little below eye level, and his eyes started getting wet, and he looked like he really cared about something.
"The problem is," dad began again, "children your age are cheated by this system. You see, during all those years while we were waiting for the researchers to finish so they could give us official permission to censor the filth, children were choosing the filth without even really experiencing the good stuff, so that in order to change, not only are we up against the natural human inclination for the easy road, but we are up against years of ingrained habits. You might even say we are up against an addiction."
Jimmy considered warning Dad how much of a battle he was inviting. But Jimmy got the impression Dad already seemed to know. So instead of putting a warning in words, Jimmy just put it in body language. Actually, though, Jimmy was kind of curious to see where all this was going to lead. Most of their battles seemed to happen sort of by accident, triggered by some little thing neither of them could have predicted. This time dad appeared to have a plan of attack, and he seemed ready to lay it all out. So while Jimmy needed his guard up, he was secretly curious. Sometimes dad even comes up with projects that are interesting, if not fun. Who knows? Maybe he might have some neat bribes up his sleeve. Jimmy definitely needed some new games, and the best game of all was getting them.
"When you are an adult, and we are not supporting you any more, you will definitely make all your own choices, and enjoy or suffer all the consequences of them. This will happen as surely as God made little boys to grow. Don't worry one bit: there is nothing me or your mom can do to stop it, however much we may worry about you when that time comes. God made it so.
"But while you are here, your mom and I really have a responsibility to use all the influence we have to expose you to good choices, and make them habits, and shield you from even experiencing really unacceptable choices."
OK, here it comes, thought Jimmy. He offered dad a look just to warn him, in case he forgot, that this better not be too great a burden, because his friends were still teaching him new, creative ways to rebel that he hadn't even tried yet.
Dad saw Jimmy's efforts, but Dad had some new, creative ways to love that he hadn't even tried yet, either. Dad had prayed, and studied, and was getting ideas from some of his friends, including friends from a new support group of parents meeting at the music store.
"You know the trumpet that I almost took back to the music store?"
Instant war between his emotions broke out within Jimmy. He was doing OK on the trumpet, and he liked the music classes. His parents were disgusted because Jimmy hardly ever practiced at home. So they were going to punish Jimmy by taking the rented trumpet back. Well, OK, he would have to quit music class and would have more time to goof off in study hall; and at home, although an hour a week of practice was pretty good for him, that was one more hour a week he could spend loafing, or watching TV, or listening to "Die,Scum!" CD's, without the annoyance of their constant nagging at him to practice more. Jimmy supposed he could survive such "punishment". But what was Dad about to propose? He dared not hope the trumpet was back without conditions!
"We have learned there are several wonderful things about learning a musical instrument. So instead of treating the trumpet like a toy we might buy you for Christmas, as a reward for being good, and then taking it away as a punishment if you change your mind about practicing it..."
Dad had Jimmy's attention. Yes, this described how the trumpet had been treated. But now some new vision is coming "instead of" the familiar one? What?
"...we are going to treat this as a pathway to maturity, one of several such pathways. It is not necessary that you take this path, if you would rather choose another just as excellent. But God has put within your heart a desire for this path, so we will help you along it until you choose a different road up life's mountain. But to choose no road at all, to just loaf, to slide down the valley, to do nothing more that matures you than the school requires, is not acceptable! You have far more potential than to slide by at the minimum level of maturity!"
Jimmy heard a couple of thoughts he kind of liked, and a couple of others he feared. But dad seemed so committed to this new theory that Jimmy was about to resign himself to just having to play along with it until dad wearied, which he calculated would be a little before Super Bowl, at the latest.
"So come on." Dad took Jimmy's hand and began walking him towards the front of the house. Finally they reached the War Room. Mom was smiling, glad to see Jimmy. "See all these dishes?" dad said. "I want you to do them now."
Jimmy was too disoriented to cry out. He just half whimpered, half mocked, "Huh?"
"If you would rather, you can go practice your trumpet for 30 minutes. It's up to you."
Jimmy was undecided! Suddenly his trumpet seemed a sweeter prospect than he had remembered. But dare he give in so easily?
Dad coaxed, "If you would rather do the dishes, fine, but do a good job, dry them all and put them away, and then you will be through for the day. If you would rather play the trumpet, fine, but don't do anything else but study and play your lesson, and if you finish before 30 minutes are up, the dishes will be waiting."
Jimmy peered into the sink, and calculated how long it would take to empty it, with the piles of garbage and cutlery strewn across the cabinets and table. Dad continued, "While you are in the kitchen, I will entertain you by explaining the importance of what we are doing."
Aarghh! Not more Truth! Of all the things to depress a child! Very much of this would surely wear him down to a snivelly, pleading, helpless, obedient Good Little Boy! Does Dad know he has located his Achilles' Heel?
"The most important thing about doing dishes, or practicing, daily, is the self discipline. Adults have to work many hours a day, without someone standing over them, making them. The more an adult can be trusted to work without being supervised, the more likely he will become the supervisor. But children have very few activities that will help them develop that skill for even half an hour a day. Doing dishes are a wonderful service because they take the burden from mom and I..."
Mom interrupted, "Mostly Mom".
"...but music is excellent because not only do you develop the same self discipline, you also have the opportunity to become better at something, every day, than you were the day before.
"SAT scores for the past three years show students who perform music score 10% higher on average, in both math and verbal skills, than students who have no involvement in the arts! The pattern is so consistent that the rate of improvement is evenly spread depending on the number of years of involvement."
[Source: The College Board, College-Bound Seniors National Report: A Profile of SAT Program Test Takers for 1998, 1999, and 2000, reprinted in Teaching Music, February 2001, page 62. The average yearly SAT score for students with no involvement in the Arts is 477 in verbal and 494 in math, for a total of 971. The average for students with over 4 years of music performance is 1062. When students are involved in years of "music study or appreciation", (which usually goes hand in hand with performance) the average is 1073. 538 for verbal and 535 for math. Of the arts, Drama is the only one with a higher score, with 1075, with its verbal boost to 543, while math gets some help but not as much, down at 522.]
"You've heard about research with plants, showing how flowers thrive which listen to light classical or even acoustic jazz music, but wither within hours when blasted with hard rock. You may have heard how light classical music improves yields where cows are milked and where chickens lay eggs. Did you know the 7-11 chain got gangs to quit hanging around their stores in major metropolitan areas by playing music like Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart inside and outside their stores? As if gangs were unable to stay pumped up for their violent plans with that calming influence."
Jimmy was bored with dad's barnyard research, but became concerned about the gang heads-up. What would the Nightcrawlers think, the gang at school he was trying to join, if dad made him carry a classical music-emitting boom box to school? Of course the bangers would scatter. You don't play Sousa marches to put a baby to sleep, and you don't play lullabies to soldiers preparing for battle, whether the battle is with another nation or with a rival gang. Besides, there is nothing "cool" about classical music, just as there is nothing cool about nonviolence.
But a question caught Jimmy's fleeting curiosity: suppose he did carry a classical music system around. And suppose bangers saw and heard him. Suppose further that he came right up to them, carrying such disgusting music. Normally walking right up to a banger with something very offensive to them, like maybe a Bible, would very nearly provoke a fight. But is it possible the music would actually have the power to make them feel less aggressive? In other words, would they just go away, or would they first jump up and down on the boom box? Jimmy decided he didn't want to research this question himself, but if some scientist was willing to conduct the study, he would be glad to read about it afterwards.
Dad continued, "Low pitched, loud sounds, like bass drums and electric basses, and especially when amplified with those subwoofers which you can feel with your body, stimulate the adrenal glands, causing the 'fight or flight syndrome'. That's why primitive tribes use very large drums that can be heard a mile away, along with hard dancing and loud, aggressive shouting, to prepare for battle by filling their hearts with violence and their bodies with what they called 'supernatural' strength. In the American Civil War, drummers even marched with the infantry into battle, for the same reason. What they wouldn't have given for amplifiers and subwoofers! But besides the volume and the low frequency, the other important feature that brings out this aggressiveness is repetition. If the rhythm is very interesting, it will hold the mind's attention, which will kill the hypnotic effect. But if it is as boring as a bucket at a banquet, the mind will stop paying attention to it, and instead will concentrate on the dark emotions stirred as the beat invades the emotions subconsciously.
"Music has consequences in our emotions. Ask any composer of music for movies or commercials if he is able to produce a particular emotion by selecting different styles of music: that is what he is paid big bucks for! Emotions have consequences in our life choices. The primary purpose the manager of the Rolling Stones had for changing their style, early on, was to (1) alienate parents with their music, (2) speak to the normal rebellious nature of the typical teenager, and (3) drive their audiences into a frenzy with the loudest and most aggressive music ever recorded and performed up to that point.
[Source for the facts alleged after the SAT scores: Crisis in Christian Music, chapter 3, by Dr. Jack Wheaton, Emmy-award winning composer of such projects as movie scores. Available at the Family Music Center.]
"It is the volume, the power of the low notes, and the aggression in the words and tone quality that account for audience frenzy, not their rapturous appreciation of artistic ability! The adrenalin actually provides a 'rush' as it triggers the 'fight or flight syndrome', which of course tends to make one a bit antisocial.
"That is why Woodstock Two, which was even louder and more aggressive than the original Woodstock, caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to cars, tents, facilities, and neighboring property, as well as rapes, drug overdoses, and assaults. That is why there aren't many large rock festivals today, because insurance is astronomical. When they occur, they are shorter, more subdued, with high security, yet still there are rapes, violence, rage, drunkenness, and youth die of drug overdoses.
"That is why it is the unknown heavy metal bands, not the ones with awesome artistry, which conduct their underground rock concerts in abandoned buildings and warehouses, and have the most frenzied audiences who have made "the pit", the area in front of the stage where the speakers are loudest, the place where anything goes: drugs, biting, kicking, slugging, self-flagellations, sexual exposure, gang rape. Youth joyously beat each other senseless as their hearing is destroyed by ear-splitting volumes at close range. The US Government has studied sound as a weapon. Certain sounds can drive troops into fetal positions accompanied by nausea by certain sounds. Ear plugs will soon be passed out along with gas masks.
"Ask the police who have to deal with the aftereffects of a 'rage' gathering whether they think this kind of music and activity are 'healthy outlets for normal pent-up teenage angst'. They see these events as deliberately promoting teenage anger, sexual frustration, rage, and rebellion against all authority, resulting in deaths from overdose, suicide, and murder. They want these events banned, with heavy penalties for the promoters.
"One of the most dangerous drugs on the market today is rock music."
Jimmy was flabbergasted. He had never heard such a stinging rebuke of a style of music with enough evidence to make it embarrassing to dismiss it with a roll of the eyes. Jimmy really didn't know how to react. He just stood there, waiting for a clue.
Dad continued, "But for discerning musicians, there is good news. Students who learn music are less likely to be lawbreakers than students who don't. Students who learn an instrument are even more likely to be law abiding, and students who actually learn to read music, as opposed to rock musicians who often don't, are the least likely to spend their days in jail."
[Source: Musica Research Notes, Vol VII, Issue 1, Winter 2000, page 2. Martin Gardiner of Brown University checked records from birth to age 30, comparing arrest records with the degree of involvement in music.]
That's it! "This is too heavy! I'm outa here! Gimme that trumpet!" What truth cannot accomplish by persuasion, it can often accomplish by sheer weight. This is as true for grown-ups as kids, except that it is easier for grownups to turn from it, except to the extent their entire culture embraces it.
As the music began in Jimmy's room, those amateurish sounds which mom and dad had gladly paid more than for season tickets at the opera just to hear, Mom spoke. "I'm so glad that, of all the extra-curricular activities Jimmy could have chosen, he chose music. He really loved it, at first, and he still likes it, even though practicing was such a big hurdle. I hope this works, sweetheart."
"When I visited the band the other day, I was rather surprised to see that Jimmy actually was keeping up with the other kids. Several were better, but one or two were worse. Yet it seemed the band director had a plan for keeping things moving no matter what the kids did at home. The teacher told me of course he wishes Jimmy would practice; he told me there are some directors who give grades based on the amount of practice, and kids get F's for not practicing at all."
"Did he say why he didn't do that?"
"He said he wants two opposite things: he wants to exert all the pressure he can to make his students excel, and he wants as many children as possible to join the band. He said sometimes you can have both, by having such exciting music that everyone will want to join; but it takes years to build a discipline into a popular community tradition. Usually you have to draw your line between those two competing goals, and you will draw it differently in every neighborhood, in every school, with every child, and according to the personality of every teacher. He said he's doing his best, even if someone else might be able to do better, and hopes that in itself will inspire Jimmy to do his best."
Mom considered. "I wonder if we should consider private lessons for Jimmy. If Jimmy is meeting expectations in the group lessons at school without practicing, maybe what Jimmy lacks is a high enough goal to justify extra work."
Dad thought out loud "The teacher described a string method -- I want to say Suzuki but I know that's a motorcycle -- where parents are actually present at lessons so they can help their children the rest of the week. Almost a Home Schooling concept."
Mom laughed, "Do you think we are too old to learn to play the trumpet? I wonder how much practicing we would need to keep up with Jimmy?"
Dad smiled. "That might work. If we could almost catch up with him, that might be enough to make him sail on ahead beyond our reach!"
Mom decided. "OK, we'll do it. At least we'll offer lessons, although if for some reason he doesn't want them we won't push, as long as he practices. And we'll take lessons too. But our motive will be to be helpful to Jimmy, and to do things with him, and to be able to play together as a family. If Jimmy is driven by competition to fly beyond our talent, so be it. But we'll be just as happy if we progress equally and just have fun together."
The music in the other room had begun almost angrily, if such an emotion can be accurately discerned in a performance. But now it was smoothing out. Some of it actually seemed to have a happy lilt. Jimmy was like that. In fact, humans are like that. Seldom do we look forward to "work", but when we cannot escape it, and resign ourselves to begin, we can't help but, at least sometimes, actually enjoy it, and take pride in doing it well.
Dad looked hesitant. Mom observed, "You have that 'what am I getting myself into' look." Dad smiled at the accuracy of her prognosis. "Don't worry. I never thought of it before, but right now the prospect of encouraging Jimmy in wholesome activity, likely to offer a satisfying alternative to trouble, seems like an investment of my time that I can justify. Besides, I've always wished I could play the trumpet, myself."
Mom turned to the yellow pages and looked up "Music Instruction". Dad said maybe the music store has teachers. Dad looked at the dishes, but Mom said "Sorry, I can't do them for 30 minutes, remember? Might as well find me a teacher meanwhile who can get me on stage."
"Break a leg", Dad suggested, as he left the kitchen.
Balzar was crushed. Light was blazing all about, and in the reflection of his polished sword he could see, so clearly, just how ugly he was. He had warts all over his body, and many of them boasted numerous pimples. "Kill those lights!" he shouted to his haggard, weary, diminishing troops.
But Harmonius had Balzar nearly surrounded, ready to close in quickly for the finish. But, wait, what's this? Harmonius retreating? Stepping back just when his own victory seemed his for the taking? "Hah!" Balzar cackled. "I knew his courage couldn't last! I've owned this ground, here in the darkest recesses of Jimmy's soul, for years, and Harmonius rightly fears the fortifications I've dug, which he would pay dearly to overcome! That wimp! Draw a little blood and he goes running back home to da-da!" Balzar couldn't stand, for the laughter that convulsed him. Rolling on the ground also got him out of the brightest light.
But moans from his lieutenants brought him to his feet again. He looked, but didn't understand what he saw. Harmonius was definitely retreating. He had gone so far back that none but his halo could be seen. And yet something, someone else was moving forward with even greater brightness. Who could it possibly be? Had Heaven sent someone of higher rank than Harmonius? Terror shook Balzar, at the fear this could indeed be what was happening, that Harmonius was not merely retreating, but was being replaced. But logic held Balzar steady. "Of course not. There is no one. Harmonius IS retreating. That light advancing, it is some kind of trick. It is an illusion."
But as the light came closer, Balzar's old wicked heart banged hard against his thick, butchered skin, until the features of the bright face were recognizable. Then Balzar fell back, ready to die, his blood-curdling scream shearing the very canopy of Hell: "Jim - m - m - m - y - y - y - y!!!"
Dad came into Jimmy's room. Jimmy didn't notice, or stop. "Uh," dad said between notes, "35 minutes! I love you, Jimmy." Jimmy didn't know if he wanted to respond to that, so he finished his song. Dad put a $5 bill on the music rack.
"Oh, gee, thanks, dad!" Jimmy said as he laid down his trumpet, and ran and hugged him.
Dad said "Thank YOU. I'm not going to pay you every time you practice. Maybe I never will again. But this time, I just want so much to show my appreciation."
Jimmy was happy for a moment, and then he remembered another happy prospect: his "Death to Dogooders" CD. He ran to the bed and slammed on his earphones.
Dad offered, "Let's listen together". Jimmy was mortified as dad unplugged the earphones and plugged the signal into the room speakers. As the harmony from hell surrounded them and ate into their souls, dad looked over the word sheet in the CD jacket. "Hmmm. 'Don't you know, you stupid fool, that killing cops is really cool?' Uh, Jimmy, this guy is calling, you, Jimmy, you, or anyone who listens to him, a 'stupid fool'. And he must really believe you are, if he thinks you can regard murdering law enforcement officers as 'cool'. Er, is that really what you believe?"
"Uh, of course not, Dad! You know better than that! I just never thought about the words, that's all. I just listen to the music."
"Well, Jimmy, if your girlfriend told you she was going to go out shooting neighborhood cats, would you just listen to the soft lilt of her sweet voice and go along with her?"
Jimmy denied it, even though he thought he probably would if she really said it. Her voice is so awesome!
Dad continued, "Maybe we should show these words to Mom and see if she has any comments that might help us appreciate the value of this music. Say, I bet Grandpa would like to see what you like, too!"
Jimmy grabbed the word sheet out of Dad's hand. "Uh, no, don't bother. I guess the group isn't that great. Maybe I don't need to listen to them."
But then there was an awkward moment as Jimmy looked at his other CD's and wondered what he could pull out that would survive Dad's scrutiny. Dad appreciated Jimmy's difficulty, and humbly made his offer: "Jimmy, I would love to share some music I myself haven't listened to for a long time, but it is really good, and makes a person feel good. I know that even though I love this music, it won't be easy for you to love it as I do, because you are not used to this kind of music. But could you do me a favor and let me share this with you? Will you come into the living room, and I'll get mom away from the dishes, and let's all listen together over ice cream?"
Jimmy smiled. His comments afterwards were that the music seemed kind of old, but lively, and there were some sounds he had never heard before. What were those instruments? Dad showed him the dust jacket with the pictures of instruments from another time. "Wow", said Jimmy. "Wouldn't that be hot if I could take one of those to school?"
Balzar had stepped too far backwards, and was falling, falling. And all the time he fell into that bottomless chasm, he screamed, as often and as loudly as his now bruised vocal cords would allow, "Jim - m - m - y - y - y - y!"
February: Repair Shop
March: Secrets of Scales & key signatures
April: "The Lesson No One Expected" (An Amazing Story featuring the Practice Fairy!)
May: Maintenance for musical instruments
June: "The Music Wars" (An Adventure Story about Superhero Angels and the Minstrels of Darkness!)
July: Basic accessories for musical instruments
August: How to practice, and how MUCH to practice! (Moms and dads: This is such universal advice about how to succeed, that it will even tell you how to LOSE WEIGHT!)
September:Rental Plan, Store History
October: Dr. Screech's Family Band Method (a very basic, easy to read very beginning CARTOON method, with easy-to-understand theory basics helpful for students who have played a few years -- great for parents helping their children)
November: Join - Uncle Ed. Show family Band! A wonderful opportunity for kids who are serious about music and who don't mind being on Youtube!
December: Music Store Ethics Statement
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