Making Music to MADE Music

October 13, 2015


The Napolitano family is a drumming family. I know I have mentioned this before.
My father played late nights and weekends as well as having a full time job in a factory when I was in my early childhood. I barely saw the man, so when I had the chance I attended the rehearsals and shows he would play.
Music was hard to break into even back then, but my father proved to be successful. He toured in caravans up and down the east coast with the likes of Franky Valley and other New Jersey superstars. Before he met my mother he played with Joe Pesci in a touring show which included a comedian, three dancing ladies, a guitarist (Joe Pesci), drums and a Hammond B3 organist. Prior to that he was hired to play with swing super star Louis Prima and turned down the gig to go to college. This would have completely changed his life, and I probably would not be writing this right now.
Later, I would attend my oldest brother’s shows. He is 10 years older than me. His band was called Holy Sin. They were an Iron Maiden cover band. Truly light hearted for an aspiring 7 year old musician.  This band set a few stages on fire with bad pyrotechnics (which was potentially more interesting then the show itself – sorry Anthony!).
I didn’t know the difference, but to be honest I still do not like Iron Maiden. I am more of a Black Sabbath guy.  Regardless of the music being played, I daydreamed every day of being on the stage with my father and brother.
The hard rock life continued. My first shows at 10 and 11 years of age were Van Halen and AC/DC. No complaints here, I still love these bands.
When I was a tot there was no Music Together, Rockness Music, or Music for Aardvarks – there were only parents and school teachers.  There is no question in my mind that my ability to play music well and my love for music stems from being in the first Rockness Music classes – the rehearsals with my pop and shows with my brothers (minus Holy Sin).
So what about making music to MADE music?
My father began to teach me how to play drums at age 8. I had already taken some piano and had been playing drums since I could hold a stick.
My level of attention was poor. I had no concentration and found lessons incredibly boring. I never practiced. The child who sat for hours at age three spinning record after record was beginning to dislike playing music.
My father did notice and stopped the lessons all together. Soon after my brother gave me a set of headphones, four tapes and a cassette player- a device that actually spins tape to replay pre-recorded audio – and told me to play along. The albums; Led Zepplin IV, Back in Black, Black Sabbath and Boston were the cassettes I learned to rock with. My drum teachers were John Bonham, Phil Rudd, Bill Ward, and Sib Hashian. I learned more from playing along with headphones than you could imagine.
I suggest the same activity for my children and your children. Put on your, or their, favorite music and sing and play along. No matter your child’s age, this activity will stimulate there sense of musical timing, rhythm, beat, melody and more. The best thing about it is that it is free!
I would love to see you every week at our children’s music classes but if you can not make it, here is a great alternative that I have proved to be successful.
Now get out there. It’s time to make music to made music.