Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Bedtime Story (13/6/2018)

Sometimes, we get opportunities to push ourselves out of our comfort zones.  I've had such an opportunity, recently and I'll be trying something new, soon.  I'm nervous, but excited!  This story is dedicated to everyone who has ever braved stepping into the spotlight, in whatever way they did it!

You can listen to the podcast version by clicking here.

Gilbert, Guitar Hero!

The first thing Gilbert did every morning was reach for his guitar.  Nothing made him happier than strumming the strings, humming along and, when he was feeling really adventurous, playing some funky riffs.  

Playing the guitar made Gilbert happy.  It made him relaxed.  It helped him to let out any anger or sadness he was feeling.  There was nothing in the world he'd rather do.

So, when his Miss Mitchell informed Class 4 that they'd been chosen to put on a special assembly on Friday of that week, it was no surprise that she turned straight to Gilbert and asked him if he would play his guitar up on stage, in front of the whole school.  Gilbert was thrilled!  But Miss Mitchell wasn't quite finished, yet.  "We all know Harry and James are learning the guitar as well," she told the class.  "So, Gilbert, I'd love you to teach them the chords to the song we'll be performing.  You'll be our lead guitarist, so it'll be up to you to help keep rhythm all the way through, before breaking out into a solo."

Miss Mitchell carried on talking for a while, but Gilbert wasn't entirely listening, anymore.  She said something about Jessie singing lead vocals, because she'd been having singing lessons and she nodded over at Gilbert and reminded him again that he'd be in charge of keeping rhythm, since they didn't have a proper drummer.  The rest of the class would be given shakers and bongos etc, but they'd be following the rhythm Gilbert had to keep to.

At first, Gilbert could hardly wait!  He loved playing his guitar and rhythm guitar was pretty easy for him; all he had to do was keep time and play the right chords, after all.  He was really excited to practise with Harry and James, too.

But, as the week went on, Gilbert started to realise how important his role was.  Harry and James were looking to him to show them what to do.  If he played the wrong chord, they played the wrong chord.  And if he lost his rhythm, the whole song either slowed down or sped up and poor Jessie was left having to sing slower or faster, to try to catch up, again.

The rest of the class had taken to referring to Gilbert as "the band leader."  He had to count everyone in, at the start of their performance.  He was so focused on making sure everyone started at the right time and stayed at the right pace, he hadn't even thought about his guitar solo.  He was starting to worry that he wouldn't have long enough to practise it, before the big day arrived.

The night before the special assembly, Gilbert lay in bed, worrying.  What if he wasn't up to the job of leading the class band?  What if he made a mistake and it caused everyone else to go wrong?! 

He climbed out of bed and grabbed his guitar.  Humming the song to himself, he tried to come up with a solo, but it was no use.  His fingers merely fumbled with the strings and nothing good happened.

The following morning, Gilbert was exhausted.  He almost felt like "accidentally" leaving his guitar at home, so he wouldn't have to play.  The weight of the world lay upon his young shoulders as he trudged towards school.

Finally, the moment arrived.  The whole school filed into the hall, as Gilbert and the rest of Class 4 sat on the stage, watching.  Gilbert's heart was in his mouth.  He was in charge.  He had to keep everyone at the right rhythm.  And what about his solo?!  He didn't even have one...

Before Gilbert could think of the worst things that could go wrong, Miss Mitchell was on her feet, introducing the class band.  All of the watching teachers and pupils were clapping their hands.  This was it...

Gilbert rose, a little unsteadily, to his feet.  He cleared his throat and counted, in a slightly shaky voice: "One, two, one, two, three, four!"

Harry and James started playing along with him at just the right time.  The rest of the class began shaking shakers and beating bongos, in time with the guitars.  Lily Metcalfe started playing the keyboards, just as Gilbert nodded his head at her.  And, with perfect timing, Gilbert nodded at Jessie and she started to sing.

Gilbert could hardly believe it was all going so well.  He'd gotten everyone into the right rhythm!  They were keeping time and getting everything right!  Gilbert had never thought he was good enough to be a leader, but for a brief moment, he felt on top of the world.  Then, he remembered... His solo!

The moment was getting ever closer and Gilbert didn't know what was going to happen.  He hadn't had much chance to practise and every time he had, he'd failed to come up with anything good.  Gilbert started to panic that he was going to make a fool of himself, in front of the whole school...

He started counting backwards in his head.  He knew the solo was coming up and he didn't have a clue what was he was going to play.  But he didn't have any time left to wonder!  Three, two one...

Gilbert's fingers began dancing along the fretboard, pinching the strings at just the right moments.  The sound that blasted through the school hall was incredible - Gilbert couldn't believe it was coming from him!  He suddenly didn't have to think about anything; the music flowed through his veins and seemed to be guiding him, somehow.

By the time the solo was over and Jessie had begun to sing again, everyone in the hall was on their feet, cheering.

From that day on, Gilbert was known as Gilbert, Guitar Hero!  Of course, he was much too humble to use that name himself, but he secretly loved other people saying it.  Gilbert had learned that he could be a leader, if he wanted to be.  He soon joined the school band and loved taking charge of songs, whenever he was allowed to.

But for all the praise and all the excitement, Gilbert was still happiest, up in his room by himself, playing his guitar, humming along and forgetting the world for a while.


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