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Listen to the children

by June Kinoshita, Executive Director, New Harmony Line

I’ve been reading the wonderful New York Times opinion series by guitarist and social activist Tom Morello, and his post “How I Taught My Son How to Shred Like Crazy” really landed for me. Morello, an esteemed rock guitarists known to legions of fans for his stints with Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, and as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s touring E Street Band, recounts how a guitar teacher almost derailed his musical dreams when he was 13 years old. Eager to master guitar licks from Led Zeppelin and Kiss, he marched into his first guitar lesson only to be told he had to first learn to play scales. It was years before he returned to the guitar when he founded his first band.

I wonder how many millions of children have been steered away from music by similar “thou must master the basics first” mindsets. Of course, drilling scales, arpeggios, and chords into your muscle memory is essential for mastering an instrument. But if a child is on fire to learn a piece of music they love, or to explore making sounds that mean something to them, a great teacher will find a way to feed that flame.

Having learned this seminal lesson in his youth, Morello recounts how he cautiously approached his 9-year-old son, Roman, early during the pandemic lockdown about learning “Stairway to Heaven,” and soon discovered he had a shredding prodigy on his hands. Roman ended up collaborating with Nandi Bushnell, the British-Zulu drumming phenom. (I first learned about Nandi through my fangirling of David Grohl; watch their epic drum battle). Here’s their song, a call to arms for the world to take action against climate change. This resonates so much with us because the driving motivation behind Hyperscore and everything we do is to empower kids to find their voice. They have a lot to say. Watch:

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