Manuel Delgado - Done In a Day

When Metro Schools started its first mariachi class in the middle and high school levels, I was honored to be asked by the Music Makes Us® program to be on the Advisory Council. Subsequently, the Mariachi teacher asked me to talk on the art of building hand made instruments. Having the blessing of being a third generation luthier (hand made instrument maker), I am one of the fortunate people who doesn't have a job, but rather a passion.

When I have the chance to talk with young adults, I want them to learn about a dying art form and a time when we as Americans took pride in building things with our hands and others sought out quality over price. I want them to hear about options they have in life and that following their bliss can lead to a creative profession they love. However, most of all I want them to see how I can spot a piece of wood that others might discard and not see any value in, and transform it into a masterpiece. I tell them how imperfections can lead to beauty. I show them a piece of German spruce that still has the bark of the tree, imperfect and not at all distinctive-looking. That same piece of wood is a Master grade piece of German spruce, used only in the finest instruments. Those who are wise enough will see the potential to create an instrument that would impact many people. My hope is that they draw the connection between the wood and their value as an individual.

Finally, I share the responsibility I feel to honor my father and grandfather’s gift by carrying it forward. Teaching through tradition shows we have much in common with one another. I am always surprised when the students who seem to be paying the least attention are the ones who later ask the most questions. My tag line for my business is, "Does your guitar have a story?" Every individual I meet has a story worth hearing and worth telling. I love how music helps them tell that story.

I am honored to be a part of such a great city and such a great program that recognizes this and works hard to fight for these kids to have a voice through music. Ask yourself how you can help Music Makes Us® and other programs in your school and make a difference in the lives of our future.