The Magic Mandolin Lesson

By: Morgan Hamilton

I recently got my youngest son a mandolin lesson. He has never played the mandolin before but I think he really liked the experience and we were both very excited about it. I should admit that I have always pushed him a little harder to play music. I didn't know if it would happen or not, though. The point is that the whole family plays. My wife is a fiddler, I play the accordion, and my older son plays harmonica and guitar, my daughter - the banjo. I figured if my son took a mandolin lesson he might like it and start practicing. That's how we could all make music together. But there was a time when my son was not willing to listen to me and he refused to have a mandolin lesson.

The one type of music he only liked was rock and roll. I like rock and I have played it in the past but it is by no means the type of music which could teach you how to play with soul. I grew up fiddling around with an electric guitar. I didn't care if I was good or bad at it; I only wanted to play a few chords loudly. It all comes down to ego and raucous noise. Mandolin teaches tenderness but my son didn't even want to hear about a guitar lesson, to say nothing of a mandolin lesson.

However, one night it all changed. My whole family got together. The oldest son is a good harmonica player and a nice guitarist as well but he is kind of shy to play with others. He is 16 and just got in love for the first time. I remember seeing him coming back from his first serious date with that girl. He was really happy and in a great mood. He suddenly picked up the harp and started to play a tune.

The rest of us joined him one by one and finally there were all of us playing together. It really worked; we had never played so well until that moment. Of course, my little son didn't play then. He was juts watching at us wide-eyed. The following day he wanted to give the mandolin lesson a try. I found a teacher for him but he was impatient to start the lesson immediately. As I can pick a little, I gave him his first mandolin lesson myself.

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