Reading The Notes

(JP with LaserSexPanther)

(Takes place Thursday Afternoon)

Melissa had enjoyed performing at the beach party; a lot. Actually, she did so much that she had decided to take the music teacher, Ms. Kopper, up on her idea of joining a few music classes. That had made Ms. Kopper happy but there was still the problem that Melissa hadn't been taught to read music. She could play anything by ear but she'd be lost if the music needed to be read for some reason. Not to mention if she ever wanted to write her own songs she'd need to have that skill as well.

Ms. Kopper had said she would get Mel a tutor and true to her word; a text had come through Mel's phone earlier to have her meet her tutor in the music room.

Actually, the text gave the where and the when but the music teacher had completely left out the who. Mel had no idea who would be tutoring her.

Still, when the time came she headed to the music room. Everywhere took longer to get to than usual because she was still on crutches but she hadn't been that far from the music room anyway. Melissa opened the door and enter the room.

Dante sat on one of the chairs in the room. Tuning a guitar, he'd also sat up two music stands. Where two books were placed. Playing his guitar seemed to be some of the only times Dante took off his glasses so he slipped them back on. "Good to see you," he said sliding a chair in his direction for her to sit before standing the help her out. "Ms. Kopper asked if I could teach you how to read sheet music," Dante said. "So I agreed to help."

Melissa nodded and accepted his help, sitting down in the chair he had set out for her. "Thanks for doing this. She left out a name so I didn't know it would be you that would be helping me with this." She paused. "I have to tell you you'll have to start at the beginning. I've never learned anything about reading music. I've just always played by ear."

Dante nodded. "I was told as much, so I talked to Nix who's got an Aunt who works at another school. Don't be offended, but this first book is sixth-grader stuff," he said. "Start easy and learn from there," he said taking out another thicker book. "This is what I hope for us to work up to. Not all at once. Don't worry we will take it slow till you start to get it. Once you do, reading it will become a breeze." Dante put the advanced book away. "But, between you and me. I'm not perfect at reading sheet music. My uncle taught me on tablatures and by ear. I only really learned this stuff myself when I was 'forced' to." he explained. "So shall we get started?"

Melissa was feeling better about this tutoring situation. Dante seemed to be pretty patient, most of the time. She thought this might work out. "Sure." She responded.

After about an hour and a half of study and a fair amount of headway, Dante decided to call the lesson to an end for the day. "You're gonna pick this up faster than I did at this rate," he said, beginning to put things away.

"Really? Well, that's good to know." Mel was smarter than she gave herself credit for. It was similar to how she had been so unsure about performing in front of people before the beach trip. That inner voice telling her she wasn't good enough could get very loud at times."Being in music classes without knowing it is a little hard at times."

"You're not the only one." Dante said, "Plenty of people are fake it till you make it, or at the very least, only have a rudimentary understanding of things." he shrugged, "So if you are even a little better than them it’s a lot better. If that makes sense."

"I suppose that makes sense." Melissa agreed. "I really wasn't expecting what happened when I performed. I didn't think I'd like it so much. So, I kind never thought I'd need to know any of this." Referring to the sheet music. She had expected the performing on stage to be more of a just get through it and then go back to what she had been doing, no performing, no music classes but something happened when she was on that stage and it changed her.

Dante shrugged again. "Only music I learn the sheets for is the stuff for class," he said. "Most of what I do are either cover work or originals. I rarely play the original version so anything changed its...well call it artistic license." He went on, "I'm not saying that reading sheet music isn't important, it is, especially in orchestra. Everyone needs to be on the same page but if you are just playing for yourself don't worry too much about that. Your talent will become stiff if you are too rigid in the 'fundamentals'. Least that's what my uncle always told me. 'You gotta stay loose, man. Otherwise, you just sound like you're tryin to be cool and you ain't really cool.'" Dante said the last part in a voice that sounded like an older more burned-out version of his own voice. Obviously channeling his uncle.

Mel gave him a slight smile, "I'll keep that in mind. What kind of music does your uncle play?" He had her curious, after all, she actually didn't know all that much about him.

She was calmer than usual. She trusted Dante but the break she had had from Doug because he had been on restriction and he had been being nice to her, or, well, nicer, had been a needed reprieve.

"Played." Dante corrected, "Passed last year, and don't apologize, you didn't know, couldn't have known, and not something to be sorry over. But he played all kinds of music. He was in a band that played 80's style music. But taught me a lot. It's why I play so many styles. Same principle, you can make great covers if you know how to change one song to a new genre of music."

"Sounds like he was a good teacher and interesting." She thought for a moment. "Maybe I'll have to experiment more with things. I do want to write my own music eventually."

"Knowing how to read and write it can help keep you consistent, and it can also help others play it if you need to be on a different instrument," he said. "But I tend to record my practice sessions. In case I stumble onto something while just messing around."

"I never really thought about recording them but that makes sense. I've been playing for years but I sometimes feel like I'm still really new to all of it." She was definitely new to parts of it.

"You don't need to, but it's a good way to listen for your mistakes. Like proofreading your writing, after the fact you'll catch more," he said. "But as someone who plays music often I need to record," he added.

"That makes sense," Melissa kind of didn't want to leave this room but she had a feeling that Doug's group would be wondering where she was soon. Still, there is something she wanted to tell him. Why did she want someone to know Carter was helping her? She couldn't say but it was as if she had to say it out loud. "Can you promise me; if I tell you something to keep it a secret?"

Dante made eye contact with Mel and took out his teaching sheet. "Here." he said, "Let's just make sure you got the lesson." he gave her the book to write on. "Note my hums," he said before humming a tune but was giving her a secret place to write.

She understood what he was doing and wrote out: Do you know Carter Crawford?

Dante nodded as if to tell her she was correct in her answer, before humming again.

Melissa continued to write: He's helping me. He's sticking with Doug only until I get free.

Dante gave her one last nod and a thumbs up. "Looks like you are getting the basics. We'll meet back in a few days and work on perfecting it."

Melissa responded. "Sounds good. I should get going though." She grabbed her crutches and stood up. "Thanks again. I'll see you later." With that she left the room.

Dante waited for a while until after Mel had left before leaving himself, and letting Ms. Kopper he was done with the tutoring session.

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