Sunday, November 25, 2012

Brad Paisley's Grandfather Had it Right!

I was glancing at my inbox on AOL mail and noticed an announcement from Amazon. The subject line read, "If you like biographies you might like..." Always looking for something good to read, I clicked into the site and was surprised to see that country singer, Brad Paisley had written a book called, How My Musical Heroes Made a Guitar Man Out of Me. My first thought: Everyone really is writing a book. That quickly passed and I focused on the word: guitar.

Many of you know that I am a a passionate music appreciator. I feature a song every week on this blog; my iPod needs a new size to hold all of the music I want; I attend concerts regularly; the lead character in my novel is tempted to leave a lucrative career to run a music program for the Boys and Girls Club; and I donate ten per cent of the profits from my novel to The Mr. Hollands Opus Foundation. Because of this, I was curious about what Brad Paisley had to say. I was then enticed to buy the book (although I haven't yet) when I read what Brad's grandfather said when he gave him his first guitar at 8-years-old:

"If you learn to play, anything would be manageable, and life would be richer. You can get through some real tough moments with that guitar on your knee."

It's true. Take a look:

Bruce Springsteen offers a song of hope to
citizens of his home state, New Jersey, after
Hurricane Sandy.

A music therapist brings joy to a child with cancer.

Toby Keith entertains troops in
the Middle East on a USO tour.

High school students in St. Paul, MN,
who were determined to be at "high risk"
for dropping out, reconnect with education
through music at the High School of Recording Arts.

As a speech-language pathologist who works for a high needs school district, I wanted to find out if schools like the one above were successful. The answer is a resounding yes. The High School of Recording Arts is reporting graduation rates anywhere from 70-76%, depending on the year. This is amazing considering some other statistics: only 1 in 2 students in Los Angeles graduate, and in 2012 the graduation rate in Detroit was 60% with a 20% drop out rate.

Music does have to power to engage and heal. Unfortunately, schools around the country are reducing or terminating music programs because of budget issues. This is especially problematic in districts that have high poverty populations. When my sons wanted to play an instrument, their father and I had the resources to make it happen. Many parents don't. Part of the mission statement in The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation says, "Kids thrive when given the chance to learn and play music. Putting an instrument into their hands improves the quality of their education and their lives. The window is brief and all kids deserve a chance to play music in school!"

That is why during this season of giving, I am increasing my donation to The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation to 20% of profits from A Stop in the Park and on December 6 I will donate 100% of profits. 


Writing A Stop in the Park was a joy. Sharing it with others is a dream come true. Donating some of the proceeds from it to worthy charity is extraordinary.  I love being part of a solution. Reading, writing and math are the body of a school, but music and the arts are the spirit. I want to help keep it alive.

If you haven't purchased A Stop in the Park yet, and want to, now would be a wonderful time. Just think on December 6, $2.10 from your $2.99 Kindle download or $3.05 from your $13.28 paperback on Amazon (that is what I make from each sale) will help put a musical instrument in the hands of a child who otherwise may not have the opportunity.

Here's the link to my fundraising page. Watch it grow: 

This week I'm going with the movie, Mr. Holland's Opus, instead of a book. If you haven't seen this yet, it's a must—entertaining and inspiring. Michael Kamen, who wrote the score, developed The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation. It is available on Netflix and through most libraries. Here's the trailer:



When I get Where I'm Going by Brad Paisley. In this song Brad sings about what it will feel like to meet his grandpa in heaven. I certainly am glad his grandfather put a guitar in his hand.

"When life gets intense, there are people who drink, who seek counseling, eat, or watch TV, pray, cry, sleep, and so on. I play."—Brad Paisley        


  1. I always enjoy your posts and the music videos you include are just icing on a delicious cake! Thank you for today's post. I've seen "Mr. Holland's Opus" (a long time ago) but I think I'll watch it again.

  2. Outstanding post! You NAILED it: Music does have to power to engage and heal!

  3. Beautiful cause, Peggy. Give me the beat boys and free my soul...

  4. Hi Peggy,
    This is so true. Music heals and I am a witness to that. I dont play a guitar, but I play piano and write songs. When I play, regardless of what situation I am in, I find peace and joy. There is something comforting about playing an instrument or singing a song. You get in touch not only with yourself but with the Creator of all universe. Your soul is set free and you began to look up and not down.
    I love this article.

    1. I can only imagine what it must be like to play an instrument. You must be able to get lost in it. I know just listening to the right music can be hypnotic.

  5. Peggy your love of music is evident in your novel and this post...and in sharing your profits . Nicely done

  6. Music does something to us, no? I can hear a song here in Central Texas, like the Carpenters "Close To You" and immediately I am a kid again in the back of the car driving to Jones Beach on Long Island, and just getting to the monument on the (I believe) Meadowbrook Pkway and then, after going around it and getting on the right road, as soon as we came out from the underpass, BAM!!! You could smell the ocean!!! All these years later (40+), just thinking about it all makes me smile. Music is a blessing from God, for sure.

    1. So true, Deirdre. Music does have the power to transport us and evoke all kinds of emotions.

  7. I grew up with grandmother was an aspiring concert pianist; Dad loved to play ragtime and music of the 30's and 40's; and Mom was a lover of Hollywood musicals. I have always loved classical music and loved to listen to my grandmother play Rachmaninoff.
    The young kids of today MUST have music appreciation in all levels of school. Music touches our souls.
    I support your generosity in supporting music for kids. I am ordering your book now. You always have wonderful blogs and I know your book will be equally good.
    Thank you for what you are doing for the youth.

    1. One of the joys of publishing my novel has been raising awareness of The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, if only in a small way. By buying my book you are supporting both an independent author and music. I so appreciate it and hope you enjoy, Karen!

  8. There are so many things music can do... and has already done for me... I'm a classical pianist myself and I think you just posted a GREAT blog post!!
    Thank you for sharing this!!

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