Music Magic and “The Rhythm in My Head”

I watched my son’s middle school music concert with tears streaming down my face. I know what you’re thinking. Really? But it’s a middle school music concert.

I know, I know. But I also that know that my dad would have really loved this. He was a huge fan of jazz music. He played the clarinet and I grew up listening to all different types of jazz. The funny thing is, my son was not a big jazz lover until very recently, after my father passed. Now he listens to jazz all the time with ear buds in his ears on his iPhone, snapping his fingers and tapping his toe. Now it feels almost as if my dad is living through my son somehow with this jazz connection. Or, it’s in the genes or something.

There’s also another huge factor. My son’s middle school jazz band is top-notch. One of the best in the country, in fact, as rated by Downbeat Magazine. His music teacher John A. Zimny (his initials are JAZ!) teaches at both middle schools in the area in the town of Folsom. My son wants to play in the jazz band next year. His instrument is the baritone horn. This past year, he was in the Advanced Band. He plans to practice all summer and audition in the fall. I sure hope he gets in. I was absolutely blown away by the talent of these musicians at this concert.

Most of all, I was touched by their devotion to their band teacher and to each other, and to their high level of commitment. If you ever have an opportunity to support music in the schools, please do! It’s worth every penny and they need many more pennies.

Many of the students spoke during the concert to thank Mr. Zimny for giving them the best year of their lives. One even said she loved her jazz band more than her family. Sorry family! These kids of both middle schools traveled together by bus, competed against each other and, for the final concert, both bands were on stage playing together. It was grand and what a sound!

jazzband

Music has such a unifying power and their teacher told the audience that when you set the bar a little higher, you would be surprised what these kids can do. They not only met the expectation, but they went beyond and took things further than he ever thought they could.

During the concert, my son watched in awe, snapping his fingers like he does and typing in the names of the pieces they played on his phone.

My son between listening to pieces, inspired and all jazzed up!
My son between listening to pieces, inspired and all jazzed up!

The next day, my sonΒ gave a presentation of a poem he wrote for his English class. I was so touched by it, I wanted to share it here.Β 

The Rhythm in My Head

As I walk through the world
I see a rhythm to things
like a way of life
while with the snap of my fingers
and the blow of my horn
I form aΒ picture of
the world around me,
A picture full of sound and
beauty where the rhythm just won’t
stop.
Then I open my eyes and realize
the world is just too quiet.

If you want to take a listen, here’s a bit of the jazz band with Mr. Zimny conducting.

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41 thoughts on “Music Magic and “The Rhythm in My Head”

  1. Oh my! I love your son’s poem! My kids are both in band and it is wonderful. Music fosters the mind and heals the heart. I love that last line, “Then I open my eyes and realize the world is just too quiet.” That’s a true musician.

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    1. Thank you! I just love it,too!! It made me tear up. I guess I am emotional these days. Music is a magical thing offering all the things you mention. I couldn’t agree more. My son is really excited about music and I feel it’s a gift!

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  2. Wonderful Amy! I agree with you about music… and the arts. Both of my boys, (the youngest graduating from HS soon), were in band and theater. And they both add to the education of people. Wonderful band too! Thanks for sharing! Jim

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    1. Thank you, Jim! I’m so happy to hear about your kids having a positive experience with band and theater. They both have a great built-in community that extend into lasting friendships. It’s a great thing. Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  3. Oh my goodness!! What a treat!!! Sorry… but with the connection to your dad, I would be crying too! They are really good! Amazing they are just in middle school, they have a future! What a wonderful mentor. Some people can just pull the best out of us, can’t they? WOW! πŸ˜€

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    1. Awww, thanks so much, Courtney. I just really wanted to share this because it made me so emotional. I just had to write about it. And then I read this poem from my son which I love. Aren’t these kids incredible? Some of them look so little, too. So talented. I can’t believe they’re just teenagers. You can tell how much respect and admiration they have for their teacher! He makes all the difference.

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    1. Thank you, Dianne! I’m glad I’m not the only one. I didn’t even have a program to hide behind. I just hoped no one was looking at me. πŸ™‚ I’m not going to tell my son. It will be my secret.

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  4. Oh Amy! I so get this because Eamon’s just about to go to Middle School and has his sights set on The Jazz Band. And now he wants to listen to Jazz in the car. Wow they were really good! And it’s sweet to be reminded of your Dad. I sent this to my son’s email . I reminded him he may have even read a piece your son wrote. Thanks for sharing your life Amy.
    Love Ya’,
    Shalagh

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    1. Oh, good for Eamon! It’s cool when kids discover things on their own and know what they want. It’s the best. I’m so honored you sent this to your son. Aww, thank you! That’s right. My son had a blog once. πŸ™‚ That didn’t last, but hopefully the music will. Thanks for being a part of it. Love ya too, Shalagh.

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  5. What a blessing to have such a devoted teacher in your son’s life. Your son looks so happy and so sweet, Amy! Your post brings tears to my eyes with happiness for you because I can feel your pride and how much it means to you to see your son embrace music, jazz especially. I wish him all the best with it – sounds like this is only the beginning for the next great musician in the world! xoxo

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    1. I really does feel magical to me. I really didn’t expect him to love jazz so much. It just happened. All of a sudden he rejected all other music and just started listening to it as much as he could, in the car, on the way to practice. I just found so amazing that he found it, for him! So nice! I know my dad is smiling now. Thanks. xoxo

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      1. That’s wonderful, Amy. I’ve heard there are cognitive benefits to listening to jazz and classical music as well. My son doesn’t play an instrument but my daughter started piano lessons when she was five. She has played ever since and considers it a real joy in her life.
        I’m sure your dad is smiling for sure! πŸ™‚

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      2. Wow, that’s great you daughter has continued and that she started when she was five! The most important thing is that it gives you joy. That’s what I saw in these kids that night of the concert. I wish my dad could see it, but I think he knows. Thank you. πŸ™‚

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  6. My younger son joined the band in 7th grade. He played the clarinet. Then in the 8th grade, he added the saxophone. He loved band and I loved the idea that he was learning music and instruments and all that. Something I never really gave myself the opportunity to do. Then he enrolled in high school, where the only way you can be a part of any band is if you’re in marching band. He signed up for it and quit after two weeks because he didn’t want to do marching band. If he could have participated in concert band or jazz band, without having to do marching band, he may have kept with it. But marching band was just a no go for him. He hasn’t picked up an instrument since. Which just shouldn’t be how it goes. Glad your son is finding a place in that world. I hope he keeps with it.

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    1. I can totally understand how someone might not want to the do the marching band, Mark. My siblings were all in band, but I did the dance. Anyway, I went to all their competitions for marching band. I totally loved it! Like you, I never tried to play an instrument. I wish I would have. My oldest sister didn’t either and she has just recently took up the piano. So, it’s never too late!
      My son has no interest in marching band either. Luckily the high school has both the marching band and jazz band. I guess we kind of lucked out there! That’s too bad about your son giving it up. Who knows. Maybe he’ll pick it up again. You never know. Anyway, I hope my son sticks with it. So far, I really like what I’m seeing. The kids are great and they’re all so involved and committed to it. It’s so refreshing to see that!

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  7. I adore Jazz! This is a wonderful school group – absoutely top-notch (and as a former music teacher who used to do this kind of stuff I think I’m qualified to say it ha ha!). Your son is very blessed to have this and I hope his love of Jazz continues to develop and blossoms throughout his life πŸ™‚

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    1. I didn’t know you were a music teacher, Ken! I do feel he’s lucky. Somehow we ended up here. Maybe it was for a reason after all. I hope he continues to love jazz the way he does. It’s such a wonderful thing to be passionate about something, right? No one can take that away! πŸ™‚ Thanks, Ken.

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      1. I was ok…no one was paying huge prices to buy tickets however ha ha. I’m a decent musician – much the same as my writing skills lol. Can make a living but no one will be offering me a Nobel for it!

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    1. Thanks, Matt. It’s great you have those memories. My sister and two brothers played in the band and they loved it, too. You can always take it up again, right? Hey, why not? My sister just started taking piano!

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  8. I’m so pleased for you and your son. The fact that he feels music in himself is such a gift. And apparently that apple didn’t fall from the tree with your Dad’s influence with jazz and obviously his poetry skills from his, oh so talented Mom. For the record, I cry every time I see young people accomplishing something with their gifts whether it is music, dance, art, etc. It just warms my heart and I cry. I don’t have any kids but I have a slew of nieces and nephews that like to make their proud old auntie cry like a baby. πŸ˜‰

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    1. Oh, you’re the sweetest, Michelle! I wonder how much influence my dad had on him. It seemed like my son wasn’t paying attention, but you never know how these things rub off. And I absolutely just love his poem! I really love the last line. When I read it, it was a “wow” moment. My son has made me do this before. He has that in him! I’m so thrilled he loves jazz so much and that he has access and opportunity to a great experience. I hope he can do the jazz band! I know he’ll love it. I’m glad I’m not the only one who blubbers like a baby, Michelle. I get so emotional. I just can’t contain the emotion and it spills out! I’m a mess too when it happens. I’m glad I’m not alone. πŸ™‚ Thanks, Michelle.

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  9. Ok, I read that first paragraph and had the thought… “It was that bad?” (full disclosure, both of my kids were in band, middle school through to college). Fine, I might be a horrible parent… ok, I am… but that’s not the point. Wait. Is it? No, no it isn’t.. I was going to say, I like how you wove in the first part with the poem and that’s a good poem.

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  10. Love the poem. I’m happy to know you feel your dad whenever your some listens to jazz. My daughter plays violin and my great gram taught violin so I like to think it’s part of the genes. My son surprised me by taking a big interest in piano. And he’s good! I play piano so I plan on teaching him starting this summer. Music is magical, isn’t it?

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    1. I really do always think of my dad when I hear jazz. and when I watch my son, I kind of feel my dad watching next to me. πŸ™‚ At least I picture it. Who knows how the genes play a role, but I think they do! Like with your daughter and your great gram. And I didn’t know you played the piano, Darla. Another talent of yours! That’s cool and magical that you’re teaching your son who wants to learn it.

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