Proud dad moment.

tluxtele

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This will be kind of long but I figure some of you here will appreciate this.

Last year my oldest daughter and I got back from a week of camp and asked if she could start playing my ukulele. She said she wanted to be able to lead worship at campfire next year. I said sure. My kids have never stuck with any instruments and I figured this would be the same. I was wrong. I taught her a few chords and she was off.

My youngest daughter has wanted to play drums for a while but hadn't told her mom or me. In April I asked a previous co-worker her opinion on a slaptop cajon she had. She liked it, but played her traditional cajon more. I told her I was looking to buy a cajon for the house and my youngest could see if she was interested. She lent it to me and said to keep it as long as I wanted. My youngest started practicing just about everyday.

Both of my kids were old enough to go to the high school week this year (mid June). My oldest took her (my) soprano uke and I took my tenor uke because I figured I'd have some free time. On Wednesday of that week I asked the guy who was leading campfire for the week if I could join him and he said yes. Figured it was a good way to force me to learn some new chords/songs. Later that day I remembered that my oldest wanted to play campfire but I knew she didn't think she was ready. I asked the guy leading if he would mind if she joined us and again the answer was yes. He hoped that her playing might inspire some of the other campers to join.

So I ask her and her eyes get big and she's nervous... but she likes adventure. She said yes so we started practicing the songs. But they were songs she had never heard and I'm not a singer. So we made a plan to get with the guy leading later that night so we could all practice together. I also asked my youngest if she wanted to play cajon and she said absolutely not... which is exactly what I expected :)

After dinner the three of us get together to practice. Then the leader's brother joins. Not long after that two campers walk by and the guy leading tells them to get their guitars and join us. At some point my youngest sits down with us and I tell her to go grab a slaptop cajon someone brought. Because we're just sitting around jamming at this point she thinks nothing of it, get it and joins us.

This moves from practicing two songs to the leader just breaking out songs for us to play. I'm sitting across from him watching his hands... making the uke chords. My oldest is sitting across from me watching my hands and making whatever chord shapes I make.

Eventually it starts to rain so the rest of the camp starts slowly filing into the pavilion where we're "practicing." But because they're coming in just a few at a time we all just keep playing. Eventually we have about 110 campers and 20+ staff for the week singing along with us and calling out requests. My girls had their first jam session and "performance" in front of about 130 people. After we finished they both came up to me and said, "Can we do that again?"

This is getting long so I'll continue the rest in the next post.
 

tluxtele

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This was special to me for a few reasons.

They didn't think they could (especially my youngest) but I knew they could do it. It was great to see the confidence boost they got.

It was also just great to see the joy on their faces from playing music.

I was "proud" that their first time jamming and "preforming" was leading their peers in a night of worship. They'll never forget that night.

It's funny. They've been bitten by the music bug now. A few days after we get back from camp my oldest is kind of thinking out loud/asking a question and says, "I wonder if I started working on guitar if I would be able to be good enough to take it to Tech Camp (same camp as summer camp but over a weekend in November)." I say sure. Hardest part of learning guitar is the dexterity to make chords and learning to strum. She has both of those with playing uke for the past year. The next day she texts me asking how to tune the guitar. I get home and she shows me the chords she learned that day and is asking me to teach her one of the songs from camp.

Friday the three of us took a field trip to Guitar Center and Sam Ash to look around. The oldest played some ukes and discovered a banjo. Now she wants one of those. The youngest sat on a standard cajon and confirmed that she likes the slaptop cajons. She got to play on some electric drum kits and definitely wants a set. She also "discovered" the bass and wants to play that. I say "discovered" because that's my main instrument and she's seen me play it her whole life. She has also picked up the guitar this week and has already learned three chords and has a decent strum.

I hesitate to write this, but the final reason this campfire session was special to me is because I'm not sure what the future will hold. A few months ago I was diagnosed with therapy related myeloid neoplasm. It's a fancy way of saying by treating me for T-cell ALL about 7 years ago the chemo gave me a secondary cancer in my marrow. The only treatment for this is a bone marrow (or stem cell) transplant. The odds are ok, but not as high as I want them to be. Assuming everything goes well, it's going to be a while before I'll be able to do much jamming with them. If things don't go well... they have a great memory of us playing and worshipping together.

I don't type that looking for sympathy or hoping someone will cheer me up. I'm a pretty optimistic person. I'm expecting this to work. But I also know that things happen. I'm planning on having many more times to jam with my girls. I'm looking forward to seeing their progress and then learning all the instruments they want to learn. Again, not looking for encouraging words, just thought some of you might appreciate reading this.


Oh, and score another for the uke... they say I won't have much energy after the transplant and I'll be in the hospital for about 30 days. Not sure I'd want to take a guitar but I plan on taking the uke and working on a few songs. :)
 

Jan D

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Such a wonderful story, tluxtele. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. All three of you have much to be proud of.
I admire your candor as much as I admire the relationship you have with your daughters.
My very best wishes to all of you as you each embark on a new journey.
 

rainbow21

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Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. Camping is a special place: so much of modern living is left behind so that relationships are more focused. And the group singing is very special (the campfire program is always my favorite). Sounds like a tremendous family experience!
 

rhiggie

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Great story, I look forward to the day my Grandkids 4 & 6) want to try my ukes, they are already banging the crap out of my wife's African drums! Music is a great healer, keep on strumming (or drumming!)
 

jkib

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Nice story. Sounds like you all had a fun time which is what the kids need to get them really interested to invest the time to learn.
 

Kenn2018

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Best of luck with the transplant tluxtelle. I hope you have a speedy recovery. It's great that you can share and play music with your daughters.

Take your lightest and easiest to play uke. And wow the nurses and docs.

Have your favorite jell-o—my treat. ;)

PS: You might be interested that SoundSmith has a cajon that folds up for transportation. I just looked to get the website address and they are on sale: https://www.soundsmithgear.com/products/sound-smith-collapsable-cajon-with-backpack
I don't have any connection to SoundSmith. But I have bought two instruments from them. Shannon is easy to work with. Great customer service.
 

Joe T

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Thanks for sharing the heartwarming story tluxtelle. With all the hate that is in this world it's good to read something positive. Good luck with your health situation, wishing you and yours the best.
 

tluxtele

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Best of luck with the transplant tluxtelle. I hope you have a speedy recovery. It's great that you can share and play music with your daughters.

Take your lightest and easiest to play uke. And wow the nurses and docs.

Have your favorite jell-o—my treat. ;)

PS: You might be interested that SoundSmith has a cajon that folds up for transportation. I just looked to get the website address and they are on sale: https://www.soundsmithgear.com/products/sound-smith-collapsable-cajon-with-backpack
I don't have any connection to SoundSmith. But I have bought two instruments from them. Shannon is easy to work with. Great customer service.
Thanks for that link. That is crazy and good to know. Wouldn’t have even thought about something like that. We didn’t take “our” cajon to camp this year because we didn’t have the room after all of our luggage and my bass equipment (I played in the band for the week). We could have found space for this. Very cool.
 

ploverwing

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This is a great story, thank you so much for sharing. Life is, by definition, short. I love that you've had that beautiful opportunity together to make music. Yup, I feel all of those layers. I look forward to hearing more about your daughters' musical explorations. My girl is still plunking away at the ukulele. I don't expect it will last long, but I am sure enjoying playing with her while it does.
 

Joyful Uke

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Thanks for sharing your story.
I have to admit that I didn't know what a cajon is, so I'm enjoying learning about that, thanks to the internet.

Wishing you all the best.