GR7 (PIF1): Musical Mold

The first Pay It Forward giving resolution, sent to me via FB, is officially set.

“I was trying to think of a way for you to help the music programs here. But I can’t get past the ‘not in a financial way.’ I’ve been trying to come up with another way for you to give to that program. I need a few more weeks. Brain is fried. Maybe that’s what you need to give me–some new brain cells!

Maybe some sort of instrument drive? Or if I had the time and skills to research and apply for grants, that would be great too. Both the middle school and high school my kids are zoned for are Title I schools. There is little money in the county and state for music to begin with. Because we pull from a lower economic bracket, there isn’t much in the way of fund raising and personal donations. Our middle school band director said he wouldn’t recommend any of the school-owned instruments to the kids because they are full of mold. Gross! But for many families, renting a school instrument is the only option.”

So, how can I help the music program without writing a check? Well, if I could find a way to rid the instruments they already have of the mold, that would go a long way toward improving the music program. That way, more kids could play an instrument, the school won’t have to come up with funds and I’m not an enabler of financial waste.

UltrasonicAfter doing some research, I found out that mold in instruments is not a unique problem. The most common and effective way to get rid of the mold is by dipping the instrument into what is essentially a giant ultrasonic vat. There is a company out there that manufactures one big enough to dip an entire tuba. It holds 36 gallons and costs about $3,000. There is an instrument shop called All-County Music in Andrea’s area that has one, but they charge about $150 per instrument for the service.

Then I had an epiphany. I know someone who used to have a large ultrasonic machine in their factory, for a completely unrelated purpose. They’ve since retired, but I thought it worth a call to see if (a) he still has it and (b) it is big enough to fit a musical instrument. The answer to both questions was, “yes!” It’s only a 10 gallon version, so it won’t fit a tuba or trombone, but it will certainly do the job for almost all the other instruments when broken down. To make matters even better, the gentleman offered to deliver it to the school..

Andrea put me in touch with the music director so that I could work out the logistical details, but of course nothing is that easy when a bureaucracy is involved. While he was incredibly grateful for the help, he informed me I would have to seek approval from the county before we could proceed. I have moved it up the chain of command and as of this moment am awaiting a response.

However, as per my definition, even if they refuse my help, I have satisfied my resolution and look forward to seeing how Andrea pays it forward.

GR Resolution 7-11: Pay It Forward – “Success or failure for the GR will be determined solely by what I can control, namely that I carry out a favor, get confirmation that the favor will be paid forward and pass along the information for tracking it.”

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Halfway There

12for2012 Ballroom DancingI’m at the halfway point in my quest to learn 12 new things and do 12 charitable things this year.

Unicycling, slack lining, jumping stilts, yarn bombing, and drumming have now been checked off, with ballroom dancing and eating right being works in progress on the learning side. That leaves 5 more to be accomplished. (Paragliding has been tentatively scheduled to begin at the end of July.)

SugarOn the giving side, I’ve built homes, fostered a puppy, volunteered to donate bone marrow, did graphic design work for a mitzvah and next Sunday will donate 400 square feet of knitting to Warm Up America, while having my blood, sperm and hair rejected. That leaves 7 more to be accomplished. (I become eligible again to donate blood on December 25th so that will likely be GR12.)

Duneier SlackliningThis is where you come in. I need suggestions for the remaining 12. Is there something you have been wanting to learn, but aren’t ready to take the leap? Is there something you would like to try, but worried it will be too difficult or time consuming? Use me as your guinea pig. Let me pave the way. Is there something you’ve learned that you think others should try too? Is there a charity you know of that could use a hand? Tell me how I can help.

Send me your suggestions. Share your thoughts.

Thanks!

Chip Off the Old Block

My parents came to town for my daughter’s graduation and I took full advantage of it by bringing my father up to speed on my 12for2012 progress.

Grandpa UnicyclingGrandpa UnicyclingGrandpa DrummingGrandpa Using Jumping StiltsGrandpa Thankful to be done with Jumping Stilts

LR5: My Drum Recital

Duneier on DrumsI picked up drum sticks for the first time in my life just 83 days ago. It was incredibly foreign to me, focusing on how my two hands and two feet could come together to create beats that my brain has been replicating for decades. I set a goal to play AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” in front of an audience at the next SB Drum Lab recital. Today, that goal and this resolution has been realized.

Duneier Drum RecitalMy son, Jackson, was my inspiration and his initial instruction got me going with the basics. Then I commandeered his weekly lesson with Craig Thatcher at the Santa Barbara Drum Lab, where we would discuss the philosophy of drumming and tricks of the trade. Craig pushed me to play through mistakes, to have fun with it and to challenge myself every time I pick up those sticks.

For 2 1/2 months I played the same song over and over again, practicing every day, except for the 2 weeks when I was in and out of the hospital, and I loved every second of it. I didn’t have to “drag” myself to the garage to practice, but I did have to force myself to step away from the set and take care of things like work, etc at times. I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for what a drummer can do and with the help of Jackson and Craig, I look forward to continuing to develop my skills.

Huge thanks to my wife, Barbara for volunteering to host the recital and my friends Peter, Jeanette and Pam for coming to watch.

Without further ado, for your viewing pleasure, I present me on the drums at my first recital.

LR5: Drum Practice

Still just 1 lesson under my belt and hadn’t been able to practice for weeks due to the “Stones”, but really enjoying playing now. I just might keep going with this even after my June recital. (I put the music in after because I couldn’t figure out how to play it through my headphones and a speaker simultaneously, but wasn’t able to match it up perfectly. So it’s off by a split second or so.)

LR5: 1st Drum Lesson

My recital is only a few weeks away and the progress to date has been less than stellar so it was time to kick it up a notch with a lesson at the Santa Barbara Drum Lab with Craig Thatcher. I learned 2 important lessons today. (1) I can do this and (2) I have a lot of work to do.

 

More of LR5: Learn How to Drum

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LR5: Learn to Play the Drums

I’ve been watching Jackson play the drums since he was 8 years old. I’m in awe of how he can pick up a beat from his instructor and instantly bring the movement of 2 arms and 2 legs together to make that precise combination of sounds. I’ve tried before and couldn’t get simple snare and cymbal combos to work.

This time will be different though, right? Well, it better be because Jackson has not only volunteered to teach his old man a new trick, he’s signed me up to perform at a recital on April 15th in front of a group of seasoned young drummers from the Santa Barbara Drum Lab. I hope this doesn’t become one of those, “It sounded like a good idea at the time.”

Here is a collection of outtakes from my 1st lesson.