Growing up artistic is tough. It’s even harder in a small town without access to creative programs. Living in a place where the only music teacher teaches recorder to grade 6 students. Having one period of music in grade 8 where I was assigned the baritone, as if my forearms weren’t big enough already. Desperate, my Momma signed me up for piano lessons at our local church with a stern looking woman whose hair was always in a tight bun. Playing hot cross buns, twinkle, twinkle little star and three blind mice, which are essentially the same song, over and over. Mastering a song equalled a sticker with a smiley face or rainbow. Sitting at the piano, learning that Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always and All Cows Eat Grass, and wondering if it was the same thing as My Very Excited Mother Serving Us Ninety Pickles. Not really understanding why I had to listen to these people who didn’t even like music. I just wanted to play music, man. Perform the concerts, sing the songs and jam. What this boils down to is a creative kid without an outlet or inspiration. As the adage goes, that the only thing that will take you to Carnegie Hall is practise and lots of it, but access an excited, talented and experienced mentor, well that would’ve helped.
Fast forward to Melicious moving to the big city. Being at that special age, when a 20-year-old knows all about everything and has the world in the palm of their hand. Oh, wait, that never happened. And in the 10 years since I have learned music from people who love it. Learning, practising and loving singing but also ukulele, piano and a mean tambourine. Then about 3 years ago, while making an illegal right hand turn onto Adelaide, I was pulled over. At the time I was furious. In retrospect, I can clearly see how I was being pulled towards something amazing. Hubby convinced me to fight the ticket. Book a court date, appear and plead not guilty as the sign is obscured….blah blah….while waiting for my docket # I took in my surroundings, I was the only non-professional driver appearing in court. Then a spunky blonde turned the corner. The relief that crossed my face must have been palpable, cuz she sat down right next to me, and then just like that, we were friends. That is how I met Traffic Court Diva, to her I am Traffic Court Melicious, TCD or M for short. Her whole family calls me that. Here though is where growing up artistic comes back into play. Her daughter is to me what caterpillar is to butterfly. What cucumber is to pickle. We are both smart like whips, impatient to be the best. We both want to make people laugh and laugh hard. Treating each other like comedic material gauges, as making yourself laugh is the toughest. Oh and Blonde, of course. But TCD is lucky. She’s realized that just because she doesn’t know how to teach her daughter the things she wants to learn, doesn’t mean that she can’t help her learn it anyway. Learning how a kid learns, is the most important part of making sure they find a life long love of learning. And I am that teaching thing. The eager student has become the tenacious Master. Am I the best, no, but what I may lack in experience, I make up for in enthusiasm.
This past summer my 9-year-old reflection wrote, recorded and packaged her first single. Spending time in the studio with professionals all around. Leaning on me for moral and musical support; trying to pretend she would be fine without me…the way every 9-year-old does. We had a blast. Neither one of us loves the fundamentals, the math, techniques or memorization work that music brings. We love the meat of the music. The instrumental breaks, the movement, the lyric and love. But having someone speak to her like the artist she wants to be, has helped her least tolerate the fundamentals of music. We are learning to work together to figure out what is driving the creative beat. The last few months have been some of the best reminders of why I love music. We’ve laughed together, sang together, strummed together and squawked at each-other. To her I have become the mentor I needed so badly at 9 years old. And to me she has become the reminder that I can still kick it 9’er style. It’s doubtful there was ever a more serendipitous traffic court date. So, thanks Toronto Metropolitan Police and my law breaking TCD. As for my 9-year-old mini-me, thanks for making me laugh, now kick it DJ KTK!