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Saturday, April 02, 2011

Born to play music

My Dad was born to play music. In 1956, when he was 18, he became the world champion with his harmonica.

He studied the clarinet at the conservatory, and after a few years of television appearances, touring, and performing, he became a clarinet and harmonica teacher (the first and, so far in the Netherlands, only officially qualified harmonica teacher by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science).
When he retired, he picked up his harmonica again, and created several multi track recordings, in which he played all the instruments and voices himself. His own website is jan.vdnent.com.

Then, suddenly, in March last year, at the age of 74, he decided it was time for a new challenge: he wanted to learn an entirely new instrument. What better choice than the beautiful classical guitar! And so it happened that when I visited my parents last year, he was happily struggling to find the open E, B and G. I had played the guitar briefly as a teenager. Needless to say I picked up his guitar out of curiosity - and to my dismay found even I had troubles finding the notes after more than 20 years!

When I went back to Canada, I came home to a lovely Ramirez guitar, so I had no excuse but to start practising again, or rather, for real this time. My Dad continued his efforts "back home" in the Netherlands. We both looked forward that this time, exactly one year after his fingers touched the strings for the first time, we would be able to play a few simple duets together.

With this long introduction, I now proudly present three little tunes that we tried to play. Kindly I would like to ask the listener to forgive our struggles, mistakes, uneven playing and nerves - we are certainly not new to music, but I think it is rather obvious that these are our very first baby steps on the guitar.



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