Topic: Time Well Spent

A couple years ago Zurf hosted a gathering of Chordians on the Shenandoah River in Virginia. I spent one day driving around and visiting Civil War battlefields, hoping to get some inspiration to write some songs for a CD project I've been working on for the 150th anniversary of that bloody 4-year war.  Last fall I spent a weekend paddling a kayak with a group of local recreational boaters (Southern Ohio Floaters Association, aka "SOFA") and playing music around a riverside camp fire at night.  I played several of the new songs I'd written and afterward was approached by a lady who is an elementary school teacher.  She knew her history class would be studying the war and asked if I would be willing to come and play for her pupils.  Her theory was that children learn different ways, and as most seem to like music, maybe songs about the war would reinforce their learning.

I had forgot about it until 2 weeks ago she called and asked if I would still be willing to perform for her students.  She informed me that there would be three 8th grade history classes involved.  I had hoped that they would be younger students as my memory of being in the 8th grade was a classroom filled with smart-ass 13 and 14 year old boys and giggling girls passing notes back and forth, so I was a little apprehensive when I arrived at Hamersville Elementary yesterday (about 70 miles southwest of where I live) with guitar in hand.

The kids were a little rowdy as they walked, ran, skipped and hopped into the classroom, excited about it being their last week of school and happy that they didn't have to take a test or sit through a boring lecture, just endure an hour of some old grey-haired guy plunking on a guitar and wailing some songs about some forgotten war.  I was introduced and began telling them about how my interest in the war came from my great-grandfather fighting as a Union soldier and being the last battle casualty of the 39th KY Mounted Infantry.  I had also brought along some books from my Civil War collection (59 so far) so they could see what the soldiers wore, what equipment they used, etc.  I could see their interest grow as instead of being asked to memorize names of generals, dates of battles, etc they got more of an insight into the life of a farm boy turned infantryman.  I was surprised that they were so attentive during the songs I played and afterward would look up information about people like John Bell Hood, George Thomas and Henry Haupt or about battles like Franklin, Saltville and Chickamauga - battles fought by "western" troops mustered in at Cincinnati, Ripley or Portsmouth - southern Ohio towns where their ancestors would have mustered in the Union Army.  Afterward I asked if they had any questions and eventually after a couple Civil War questions they would ask about songwriting and music. I don't know if any were inspired to be guitar pickers or songwriters but it was a joy talking to them.  This scenario was repeated three times during the day for classes of about 25-30 students.  I even got to eat lunch in the school cafeteria and was reminded how healthy but tasteless the food is.  It was a day well spent.

DE

I want to read my own water, choose my own path, write my own songs

Re: Time Well Spent

Cool.

Granted B chord amnesty by King of the Mutants (Long live the king).
If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome! - Mekidsmom
When in doubt ... hats. - B.G. Dude

Re: Time Well Spent

Congrats on giving a history lesson to those young folks in your community. Very cool that you had a family member with a history in a very important part of the making of the US. I wish I could have been there to enjoy your presentation. Keep working on your Civil war recording project it sounds fasinating. I get to spend my summers in Wyoming and I visit a lot of sites and take a lot of notes on what I see. From that I start to write songs. Most times the songs don't get written until I get back home and I have time to look thru my notes and let my brain digest  all the info. I think while you are there looking at your subject in real life you have so much going on in your mind that most times what you want to say can't find it's way out. Any way Koodoo's to you Ed.

Joe

Re: Time Well Spent

Very Cool - I would not doubt that you cranked up the civil war historical interest level on most if not all of the students, and I am sure they were attentive and entertained by your music. I'd love to hear those tunes myself.

J  E  T  S
...and yet a Redskins fan ...long story...HTTR

Re: Time Well Spent

I think that would be very rewarding,good for you. I remember the school lunchs,sometimes good and some days you new it was a day too brown bag it.

my papy said son your going too drive me too drinking if you dont stop driving that   Hot  Rod  Lincoln!! Cmdr cody and his lost planet airman

6 (edited by zguitar 2013-05-30 02:22:52)

Re: Time Well Spent

Nice!!!! It sounds like nothing but good. Learning, playing, different passions. Good for you DE. If just one of those students gets inspired then it was all worth it.

One question tho, 8th grade at an elementary school?

Keep Rockin!!!!!!!!!!!

Re: Time Well Spent

DE - That sounds like a lesson I would be very interested in learning and hearing about! Well done.

Rule No. 1 - If it sounds good - it is good!

Re: Time Well Spent

Great stuff, DE!

" Old Guy is Rocking"
Simon & Patrick Pro Flamed Maple (mmm, nice...)
Norman ST68 acoustic

Re: Time Well Spent

zguitar wrote:

Nice!!!! It sounds like nothing but good. Learning, playing, different passions. Good for you DE. If just one of those students gets inspired then it was all worth it.

One question tho, 8th grade at an elementary school?

Yeah, this was one of the small districts in southern Ohio.  Instead of a middle school they put 8 grades on one campus to save money.  I guess they could call it an elementary/middle school but its just easier to just use one word.

For those not familiar with the Buckeye state, most of the northern and western part of the state is flat farmland and factories while most of the southern and eastern part is Appalachian foothills and home to some very poor school districts. The school I graduated from was the poorest district n the state back in the 60's. The last time I checked it had moved up to third from the bottom.  The flat-landers live in Oh-hi-oh, the hillbillies live in Uh-hi-uh.

DE

I want to read my own water, choose my own path, write my own songs

Re: Time Well Spent

After hearing a few of your songs in Virginia, I have no doubt that you peeked quite a bit of interest from the kids.  You are an amazing story teller and picker!

Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

Re: Time Well Spent

Good for you DE.  You have expanded the world of music. A little Civil War Rap would have gotten their attention also.

You can see all my video covers on [url]http://www.youtube.com/bensonp1000[/url]
I have finally found happiness in my life.  Guitars, singing, beer and camping.  And they all intertwine wonderfully.

Re: Time Well Spent

mekidsmom wrote:

After hearing a few of your songs in Virginia, I have no doubt that you peeked quite a bit of interest from the kids.  You are an amazing story teller and picker!

Thanks for the kind words Amy.  I like to write 'em but if I had your pipes I'd be making money singing 'em.

DE

I want to read my own water, choose my own path, write my own songs