Passion Makes Perfect

30 04 2012

This is totally going on their first CD cover

The UPS guy just dropped off a package, but I had to go outside to chat with him because there was a tenor sax and a bassoon wailing in the house. Actually, the latter was a tromboon, called such become my son took the mouthpiece and reed from his bassoon, stuck it in his trombone and then blew. That’s about as nerdy as you can get when it comes to band geekism.

But before he left the UPS guy asked me:

How did you get your kids so involved in music?

I get asked this a lot. And I always laugh inside at this question because my husband and I didn’t pick music for our kids. Our kids picked music for themselves…in a big way.

As I’ve mentioned before, our two teenage sons play a slew of instruments, mostly woodwinds. We don’t even buy them, and yet somehow the strangest noisemakers mysteriously show up in our house! (Although in the long run, we usually end up coughing up the cash to purchase or rent our own versions. Once the kids get even remotely proficient on the darn things they insist on upgrading. It’s kind of like letting your kids get hooked on crack, except that with musical instruments there is a possibility they can use their talent to pay for college without getting arrested.)

No, my son in NOT holding a cannon--that's a bassoon

I’m telling you, when people hear that your kids practice everyone comes out of the woodwork bearing unused musical instruments they are more than happy to get out of their houses. “Call it a permanent loan,” they say.

I’m still not exactly sure where the oboe came from. One day I heard this funky noise, like a duck being slaughtered, coming from my son’s room, and I ran in to find this scrawny reed instrument glued to my kid’s lips. At first I thought maybe our bassoon and flute got together and created a love child. But then I heard a rumor that the band teacher at the high school lent him an oboe so he could practice at home over the summer. Do they really do that? I thought. Hand over an exotic instrument like that to just anyone? Yes, they do. If it’s an oboe. P.S. Earplugs not included.

And then there are the concerts, recitals, band tours, and competitions, not to mention the cost of instrument repairs, band uniforms, sheet music, airline tickets (for the band tours), and of course now I’m going to varsity football games, even though I hate football, just so I can watch my nerdy little band geek boys play Queen’s We are the Champions on the saxophone and flute every time some Neanderthal scores a touchdown.

Living his dream (we should all be so lucky)

Suddenly I’m clocking in more mileage on my Subaru Outback than a bus driver on tour with the Grateful Dead and forking out more cash than a busted ATM machine.

Whine, whine, whine…well then, if it’s so darn inconvenient, expensive, time consuming, and sometimes even heartbreaking (for example, when your kid doesn’t perform well even after he’s practiced a piece more hours than he sleeps in a week) then why do my husband and I do it?

We do it because every time one of my sons performs a solo that people applaud wildly for I see a little more confidence in his face. We do it because now my kids FINALLY understand what it means to be on a successful team, even though they aren’t competitive. We do it because art and music are the first to go in school district budget cuts, and that breaks our hearts. We do it because music teachers are overworked and underpaid, yet they’ll give up entire weeks of their summer (without pay) to put together a marching band for a small-town Fourth of July parade. We do it because it keeps our kids busy and out of trouble. We do it because it may pay for their college someday. But most of all, we do it because it’s their passion, and I can’t think of anything more rewarding than watching my kid do something he loves (even if sometimes it sounds like a sick cow—I’m talking about you, bassoon).

So prove my point, feast your ears on my 16-year-old son, Derrick, doing his best David Sanborn impression, backed up by the Park City High School Varsity Jazz Band (directed by Chris Taylor). There is no way a stand-up comedy career could EVER hold a candle to this:


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Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.

For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on



20 responses

30 04 2012
Dee Macaluso

OMG, Derrick’s performance gave me goosebumps! So much talent in that family! Bassoon line cracked me up!

30 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

I know, right? I was in tears when I saw it live! All I ever hear at home are the scales, and the squeaks, and the arpeggios, and the experimentation, and the mistakes. Then I hear something like this I just about faint. Sometimes I can’t believe I literally gave birth to that!

30 04 2012
Kate Bush

I hear you. My son, James, was in the jazz band and the marching band in Norwalk, CT. It was a HUGE commitment — over 20 hours a week in rehearsals, performances and competitions. My younger son, Ari, was in the PC jazz band (tuba & trombone). Derrick’s solo is great!

3 05 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thanks, Kate. I didn’t realize that you were a band geek mom, too! Even though band is a big commitment (and I like to whine about the time and expense) I can’t imagine anything better for my kids to enjoy! (But it does give me good fodder for comedy.)

30 04 2012

I feel regret for taking the practical path….it has turned out dull. Phillip

3 05 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Oh, Phillip, I can tell by your occasional comments that you’re so much more interesting than you’re letting on. 😉

1 05 2012
Jim Wirt

Follow your bliss boys! And remember once in a while to thank your Mom and Dad for supporting your quest.

3 05 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thanks, Jim. You know of what I speak, for sure, since you’re a band geek parent, too. It’s a wild ride, but it sure is worth all the effort. There’s nothing better than watching the smile on your kid’s face when the band takes a bow.

3 05 2012
Carol H. Rives

Oh my goodness… your son is soooooooooo talented! I’ll look for him to be on tour soon!

3 05 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thanks, Carol! Actually, he plays with a professional jazz big band that tours in the summer. It’s called Caleb Chapman’s Crescent Super Band and last summer they played in Europe in the Umbria and Montreaux Jazz Fests. This summer they’re playing in the Telluride Jazz Fest. You can find their music on iTunes (just search on the band name). Pretty cool!

4 05 2012
Carol H. Rives

Thanks fro the information Stacy! Wow… “You can find their music on iTunes”! Pretty cool, indeed!!!! I will definitely look for his band, as I’d love to have his music in my library. Ha…. your book in my literary library, and your son’s music in my music library ~ Talented family? YES!!

3 05 2012

My band geek is younger than yours, and when she gets home from school today, I’m going to have her listen to Derrick’s solo! It’s fabulous! I have two older kids too, and one of them played the oboe for 3 years, so I hear you on the disturbing sounds issue. Our only rule about practising was that there had to be a closed door between me and the oboe!

3 05 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Wow, thank you so much for your kind words about my son’s playing. When Derrick came home from school today I showed him your comment about having your daughter watch his solo, and we was very flattered and humbled.

And yes, we have several rules at our house about when and where you can practice and at what time. It’s amazing an oboe or a bassoon can so weird by itself, but then really round out a wind ensemble or symphony orchestra. Go figure.

3 05 2012

So true about those double reeds! Brutal up close – sublime when used judiciously! I have to tell you this is my first week of blogging (ever!) and I’m already thrilled to have connected with so many interesting people! I’ve clicked ‘follow’ for your site and look forward to reading further! Thanks for the humour!

3 05 2012
MJ, Nonstepmom

Its so incredible to see your kids find a passion isnt it ? What a performance !!!! People ask how I motivate my son re: soccer (played all the way through to the olympic development) & I always say “are you kidding ? I tried to get him to stop !” (Joking, of course…)

3 05 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thanks for your comment about Derrick’s performance, MJ. But that’s pretty terrific, too, that your son played soccer all the way up to the Olympic development. It is incredible to witness your kids find their passion. As I said in the blog, people ask me how I get my kids to practice, and like you, I didn’t have to do to inspire them.They just do it. I always say, “I just gave birth and I write the checks.” 🙂

5 05 2012

Your son is very talented, Stacy! And he’s very lucky to have parents who support and encourage him to explore his passions. I hope to do the same to my daughter as she grows up (she’s currently 18 months).

8 05 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thanks, Patrick, for your nice comment about Derrick’s talent. I agree with you wholeheartedly, but then again, I’m his mom so I don’t think my vote counts.

No matter what a child’s talent level may be I think one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their kids is an introduction to music. It doesn’t even have to be a big deal, just piano lessons when they’re in elementary school and if they try it for a few years and it’s not their thing, that’s okay. At least they’ve been exposed to it and can understand what people are talking about when when they say something like c-minor-seventh.

Thanks for stopping by, Patrick, I always love your comments. 🙂

3 06 2012
Sandra Parsons

Wow, I am not a big jazz fan but Derrick’s (an the band’s) performance is soooo beautiful! You are very lucky to have such talented and passionate kids. But then, I guess luck is not all of it. There was probably a good chunk of inspiration, encouragement and good example on their parents’ side involved. Not to mention financial enabling of course 🙂 Congrats on the brats!

Oh, and PS, I had to buy your book today, I am lucky it’s available here in the UK as Kindle edition. Happy Childrens Day to me 🙂

4 06 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thanks, Sandra! Both for your kind words about my son’s saxophone playing and for buying my book! I really appreciate you commenting on both. Yes, as I said in the blog, talent is only a small part of success. Passion, inspiration, determination, all those things are the bigger pieces. I’ve witnessed in my own family how far someone can go if they just plow forward. And I’d like to think I had something to do with it, but in the end it’s my son who does the practicing.

Hope you enjoy the book! Would love to know what you think after you’ve read it. Feel free to post a comment when you’re done on my blog’s ABOUT MY BOOK page, or on the book’s Amazon page or on Goodreads. Thanks again!

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