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    Witness the Spark

    On a break from a practice session I walked through downtown Hayward when my ears perked at the sound of an amplifier. The familiar “Test-1-2” reached me as I rounded a corner and discovered a local blues band warming up on the patio of a restaurant.

    A few minutes into the start of their first set, a small boy about the age of 8 or 9 walked up fearlessly to the lead singer.  The hulking bandleader motioned for the boy to enter the band’s live performance area to “groove along” while the band vamped the 12-bar blues.  After a few minutes the mic was handed over to the new ringer and the kid proceeded to belt out a few repetitions of the title line ‘I’ve Got My Mojo Workin’.  The crowd went wild!

    After all the older members had each taken 24 bars of solo, I spied in the kid’s small hands a harmonica, a gift given to him by the guitar player.   He blew huge gulps of air into the mouth harp and continued to dance while the band played.  In his eyes he was now part of the band.  I couldn’t help but think that this moment was this kid’s musical “spark.”

    My personal “spark” experience was seeing STOMP for the first time.  I can remember being in the audience feeling tingles on my spine and picturing myself as a member of the already-famous percussion group.

    Can you remember having a music moment similar to our young bluesman?

    We all know that instance when music touches us in ways not easily described in words.  The feeling of that musical spark is part of why we are musicians and why we teach children this mysterious form of art.

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    Ryan Blauvelthttp://jwpepper.com
    I am a full-time musician while dwelling in the adventurous place that is the Bay Area, California. At night I am a studio percussion teacher at Better World School of Music. I am a player at heart and have regular rehearsals and performances with various groups here and there. I also love the outdoors, live concerts, exploring SF, and baseball.

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