Every time I pick up my guitar, I play. I don’t just copy and repeat music that somebody else thinks is good. I play what’s inside me. That’s what I mean by thrumming. When the vibrations of the music make your soul vibrate, you feel the thrum.
The above quote is from an adorable book I read last week about two teens who connect to themselves and each other through music.
Guitar Notes by Mary Amato is a well crafted story perfect for tweens and teens who are serious about becoming musicians, or who just want to understand the process of getting drawn into playing and songwriting. I’m not going to review the book here, I’ll just say that there’s a touch of tragedy, but basically the book is a celebration of the power of music.
The book includes lyrics and chords for the songs that the two main characters write. Pomegranate Waltz is the first song that the young musicians write together.
I like the sound of your name in my ear
I like to hear what you have to say
I’d like to pay attention to you— instead of doing what I have to do. Oh…
Now something inside me is ready
Something inside me is ready
Something in me’s ready—oh—here I go…
I like the way that our time intertwines
I want to design each day so we can meet
Each word a seed that’s hoping to grow—no need to hurry. Let’s take it slow. Oh…
I like the shape of the thoughts in your mind
You’ve got the kind of edge that I seem to need
And if you feel the world doesn’t care— I’ll send a message. You’ll know I’m here. Oh…
Mary Amato lives in Silver Springs, Maryland. She’s is an author, a musician, and a teacher, and I wish I’d had someone like her in my life when I was a kid. My own artistic journey was not nearly as tidy as the trip that Amato’s characters are on (one of whom is actually named Tripp) and maybe that’s why I loved the book so much. If only I’d had a copy of it when I started dreaming of becoming a musician . . .
Guitar Notes includes actual notes that the characters produce during their songwriting sessions. The notes show how the songwriting process might work through brainstorming, trial and error, etc. This is an excellent way to show the critical thinking process that goes on when writing a song and a very clever way to show children how they might go about this process. (There are no mistakes when you’re writing on the back of a napkin, I always say.)
Go to Mary Amato’s website for info on the workshops she offers, and songwriting tips.
Oh, and give Guitar Notes to every kid you know who plays an instrument.