The Magic Of Music

When my friend Heather met our son Josh when he was nine months old, she took one look at his long fingers and said, “That boy is born to play the piano!”

Those words turned out to be prophetic.

The piano was the first instrument Josh learned to play. That was his introduction to the world of music…a world that he would come to deeply love.

Looking back, it is wonderful to see the people God used to teach and encourage him along his journey and how He guided his steps along the way.

Doug, who plays the guitar and the piano, was Josh’s first teacher. He taught him how to read music, introduced him to the piano, and bought him his first guitar.

However, it wasn’t until we moved back to New England that Josh’s love for music really took flight.

Two wonderful women decided to teach music classes one fall at the homeschooling co-op we attended. Debi taught Music Theory and Carol taught Introduction to Music. I will be forever grateful for them. They ignited a passion for  music in my son’s heart and mind that is still burning to this day.

During the holiday season of 2009, our family went to my hometown of Pittsburgh. It was then that Josh announced his desire to learn another instrument.  In my mom’s family room, Josh spent hours researching various instruments in between various get-togethers with family and friends. He listened to them being played on YouTube, read about them on Wikipedia, and finally made his decision. He would play the clarinet.

That was fortuitous because we happened to have a clarinet at home. The very day we returned to our home, he put that clarinet together and began to teach himself how to play. He played everyday until June when he was able to enroll in the local music school for lessons.

It was there that he met Mary, the teacher who would encourage him, challenge him, and believe in him. She invited him to join a band called New Horizons that helped bring his playing up to a new level.

In the fall, he enrolled in the high school so he could be part of the band. The band director, Steve, proved to be an excellent mentor, as well as a lot of fun.

He also took a guitar class with Steve and was soon in the market for  an electric bass guitar, which he got for Christmas last year…

One afternoon, Josh spotted a local pawn shop and asked his dad if they could go inside to see if there were any instruments for sale.

There, on the shelf was an oboe. It was a steal for $60 and Josh was happy to spend some of the  money he had saved to own it.

Little did he know that that ordinary day would turn out to be a turning point in his young life.

He only played the oboe sporadically at first, preferring to concentrate on playing in two bands with his clarient. Eventually, he decided to sell the oboe, hoping to make a profit.

(Side note: Josh loves money. He was only a little fella when the first season of “The Apprentice” premiered. He watched the entire episode with his dad and me and as the credits rolled, he turned to us, eyes wide and said, “I love Donald  Trump!”  🙂 

So, he was looking to make a tidy profit by selling the oboe. He got a couple of nibbles but there was no sale, which frustrated him because he was saving to buy a big ticket item and could have used the money.

I kept telling him, “Jesus knows what He is doing. There is a reason why no one is buying your oboe.”

Once Josh realized that oboe wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon, he decided to try playing it again.

This time, it was an entirely different experience.

He loved it and a new passion was born.

Josh (oboe), Doug (guitar), Julia (piano); New Year's Eve 2010

Had his oboe sold, that money would have been long gone by now…and he would have missed out on a world of joy.

It wasn’t long before he had switched to playing the oboe in both bands. The oboe has become an extension of him and I love hearing his music filling the house.

Within the past two weeks, the oboe he bought in the pawn shop began to break down. So, this past Friday, we took him to Boston to look for a new one.

The music store had five oboes on hand for him to try. He went back to one of the rooms where he laid out the oboes like they were priceless treasure. To him, they were.

After trying out all of the oboes, he motioned for his dad and me to come in. His face was glowing. He had found the one and the smile never left his face.

He even (reluctantly) agreed to let me take a photo of him playing his new oboe:

I have loved seeing God birth a passion for music in my son’s soul.

I can’t wait to see where this journey takes him as the years unfold.

Music is God’s gift to man, the only art of Heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to Heaven.” —Walter Savage Landor


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