Ollie's Song

by Mike Wilson

It was true with me, and I would guess with most youngsters wanting to learn an instrument, that they picture themselves as a virtuoso instrumentalist on stage wowing their audiences. Problem is, to get there (for most of us) it takes a slow, methodical, and practical approach that discourages many young students. This is a story song about "eatin' your veggies" so to speak, before the "ice cream comes."

Not long ago, my eight year old grandson, Ollie, (who lives at the other end of our long driveway) began walking up to our house, almost always barefoot, with his guitar already strapped around his neck, ready for me to teach him some songs. It was a song about learning an instrument just waiting to happen! So this song is about his experience and, hopefully, the result of his efforts.

Some of the terms in the song are guitar specific, like "rest stroke," "slides and bends," etc. But the methods are true across the board. Scales, keys, playing smooth and even, all apply to any instrument. Sometimes there's no way around doing the work. But once you get it, it's fun. Hopefully, this song conveys that message and can help encourage students to put in the effort, and not lose sight of the goal.

So the song is a '50s style rock 'n' roll arrangement with lots of guitar and piano licks. You'll notice a major scale as part of the vamp between verses just as a reminder. Energetic from top to tail. Since it is a story song, you'll have to focus on articulating the lyrics clearly. We have also included guitar chords so your guitar students can play along. The strumming can be whole notes or half notes. Whichever they choose, they'll want to let go of the chord they're playing in time to have their fingers in place and ready to strum the next chord at the downbeat of the next measure. - MW

You can find the extracted guitar part at our web site.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.