Silver City kids look to neighbors for music help |

Silver City kids look to neighbors for music help

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

An informal music program started by Silver City resident Bob Elston has become a lesson in community involvement to local children, not to mention the creation of a garage band.

“It’s a relatively informal music program in that we don’t have the room to do a really big one,” Elston said.

He started the program in January when some of the local kids wanted to learn how to play guitar and bass.

The program is produced through Case for Change, the Silver City task force, but ran into some financial problems when several local children couldn’t afford instruments.

“So we, the task force, said we would furnish the instruments and instruction materials and accessories up to a certain amount, and the kids would have to work a certain number of hours of community service,” he said. “They have to do the work, and then they have to take eight lessons. So you go as far as you can to get them interested.”

Now the kids trade the lessons for the work, and have put together a little rock-and-roll band, along with learning to give something back.

“If the kids really want to learn how to play, they’ll do the work,” Elston said. “This has been very successful.”

Elston looks for donations of musical instruments and equipment or finds deals on the Internet.

“I’m looking for stuff all the time,” he said. “We had a donation from a guy that I mentioned the program to on a music forum on the Internet. He sent us a nice little guitar.”

Gear is always appreciated, Elston said, but “what the kids don’t have now are good amps.”

He said the kids use instructional DVD and books, which helps, because Elston doesn’t consider himself a maestro of any kind.

“I’m kind of a guitar player, but I’m not very good,” he said. “But I love music and I thought it would do kids good if they could really play.”

He said he was giving lessons to six kids until July, and felt he had taken his students as far as he could with the basics.

Then Silver City musician Will Rose joined the effort and is helping the Silver City kids put a band together.

“Our goal is for the children to perform a number or two, or three, for the opening of the Schoolhouse when it gets finished,” he said. “So now they have a goal and their learning some songs and how to play together.”

The students, four boys and two girls 10-14 years old, are still at various aptitudes, but Elston said they were learning and having fun.

He said that once the schoolhouse community center is completed, the program will move out of his and Rose’s homes into the center, where they would like to expand it to include children from outside the small historic mining town.

“Hopefully we can get some money that we can actually hire real a music teacher and continue the program,” Elston said. “We will invite children from out of town. Now we can only deal with kids from here. We couldn’t open it up because we don’t have the room, but that’s something we have in mind.”

– Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@ or 882-2111 ext. 351.