Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Original Influences Who Got Me to Become a Musician/Music Teacher

My mom was a church musician as was my grandmother. There was usually a piano in all of my relatives living rooms. I guess the influence was "I Love Lucy". That show and "The Dick Van Dyke Show" were centered around a piano in the room. When the family of 7 siblings on mom's side met at Big Ma's house we ate and then we sang and played the piano. All of them could play something on the piano. There were a lot of different styles. We could always sing hymns of the church together, however when someone would play "show-tunes" some of the voices would drop out because some of the family did not know the words. This would be true on Blues, Pop, Rhythm and Blues and Quartet or Jubilee styles of music.

I had a cousin named James Holloway Jr whom we called "Binkey" who's dad was a professional saxophone player named James "Red" Holloway, who was a very good natural musician. Nearly any instrument he picked up he could play if he worked at it. He could pickup the instrument and get a good sound quickly. Binkey got hold of a bugle from a local drum and bugle team and in a few weeks he had mastered it. He could blow taps, reveille, and all kinds of military sounding tunes based on the major chord. He could play piano well too. In fact I liked what he was doing naturally on the piano better than what I was doing with formal lessons. Mom had taught me how to play I IV V in the key of F major so I could harmonize mostly any kids songs and mostly any church songs of the 1950's. I had started taking formal piano lessons from Louise Ward who was studying to get her bachelor's degree in Music Education. She had planned to be a teacher in the public schools one day soon. Louise could read music well but she could play by ear well too. She played for a church by not my church which was Trinity Baptist Church. Her mother who everyone called "Queenie" used to read the church announcements on Sunday mornings during the morning service at Trinity. Now that I think back on it, Louise did play sometimes but not all the time. Lucy Ross, Mrs. Richards and Pat DeNeal played piano and organ most of the time there. Mrs Richards usually was the only one who played the organ. All the others played the piano.

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