Andrew Homan is one of five reader columnists for The News Tribune.

Andrew Homan is one in all 5 reader columnists for The Information Tribune.


I faked my manner by way of orchestra class for a whole college 12 months.

In the summertime of 1977 we moved from Alaska to Arizona and I found, once I began 4th grade, that if I took orchestra I didn’t must go to P.E. – a really perfect association for a younger boy not but acclimated to the scorching Phoenix warmth.

My mother and father received me a violin and I dutifully lugged it to high school daily. I didn’t know a factor about taking part in it and was too shy to boost my hand and say something, so I sat within the again and mimicked the opposite children, transferring my bow up and down together with the others, however hovering a millimeter or so above the strings in order that I wouldn’t make an disagreeable sound and draw consideration to myself.

I don’t understand how, however I received away with this for almost a 12 months. I used to be lastly caught once I needed to audition for a seat within the fifth grade orchestra and couldn’t even play the scales.

I by no means discovered to play violin as a result of I averted the uncomfortable, fumbling early phases and thought silence was higher than making disagreeable noises.

Right this moment my son Benjamin performs viola and son Nicholas performs cello. They’ve wonderful music academics: Christopher Burns at Narrows View Intermediate College and Matthew Grenzner at Curtis Junior Excessive. Each pushed by way of the early days of classes and now play effectively.

Final month they realized they each knew the identical tune and performed an impromptu duet. It was stunning. It was swish.

I’m studying extra about music by way of their experiences. A number of weeks in the past, Ben and I had an important dialog in regards to the distinction between minor and main keys. He defined how songs in a minor key are inclined to sound darkish, unhappy or ominous, like Darth Vader’s “Bum Bum Bum bumpa Dum” theme in Star Wars, which is in G minor.

Songs in a significant key are inclined to sound happier, livelier and extra joyful – “Jingle Bells,” for instance, is usually performed in G main. The distinction between the 2 tones requires solely a slight adjustment of the fingers.

Final July I attended a YMCA convention in California the place I witnessed a robust presentation by Bryan Stevenson, the founder and government director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama.

His three details have echoed in my head for months: Be proximate, change the narrative and don’t hand over hope.

Proximate is being current within the location, within the second; it’s paying attention to our self and the wants and voices of others. It’s accepting the expertise for what it’s, nice or in any other case.

If I had been proximate in 4th grade, I’d have stated, “I need to discover ways to play violin, so I’m going spend time with this instrument, and I perceive that I’ll make disagreeable sounds as I study.”

Right this moment I’m proximate when I’m trustworthy with myself and once I deliberately spend time listening to others.

I’m keenly conscious, too, of the ability of fixing the narrative. Simply as a musician can change from a darkish, ominous minor key to a vibrant, cheerful main key with the slightest change of finger placement, we, too, can shift our ideas and conversations from anger, concern or disgust to like, compassion and empathy by making small modifications to the phrases and phrases we use.

It sounds troublesome to do on this highly-charged time of divisiveness, however I found this previous 12 months that if I put aside phrases like “liberal,” “Republican,” “immigrant,” “bigot,” “trans” or different labels and simply use the phrase “beloved” for folks, my ideas and conversations change instantly.

When one in all my sons is pissed off together with his homework, I encourage him to tack on the phrase “but” to any job he says he can’t do, and it modifications his perspective. We are able to change the tales in our heads and hearts with only a single phrase.

This previous 12 months I’ve discovered a lot about myself and so many different folks by being proximate. It’s not at all times simple or nice, however it’s enriching. I’ve discovered how powerfully a number of easy phrases can change a narrative. I’ve discovered that each methods can open up a world of grace and sweetness.

Andrew Homan of College Place is a community administrator on the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties. He’s one in all 5 reader columnists who wrote for this web page in 2019. Attain him at and browse a few of his different work at

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