Sunday, April 25, 2010

Marvin Wilson

Today we have another author visiting us. He doesn't write for kids, but some of his experiences may be helpful to parents. Please welcome Marvin Wilson.

Marvin, on your website you mention how much music lessons helped you. Can you please explain why taking music lessons can be beneficial to kids?

It’s much like sports, the benefits are many: learning self-discipline, the increased sense of self-worth and confidence when you gain some skill and keep achieving new levels, and of course the satisfaction of being able to perform and be applauded for entertaining and bringing some joy into people’s lives. I recommend music and/or sports for any kid. But you can also do the same thing with academics, so if a child is not interested in or has not much natural skill in music or sports, you can damage them by forcing them to do either one, hm?

How old were you when you started taking lessons?

Well, my mother started teaching me to sing when I was one year old. My first public performance was in church at the age of two. Standing on the piano bench next to her as she accompanied me, I sang “Give me that Old Time Religion.” I took choir in Junior High, at age fourteen the Beatles invaded the US and I took up the guitar—Dad was a guitarist so he taught me basic chords—and then in High School I continued in choir and took music theory, started composing music. I went to college on a music scholarship. I went on to play lead guitar and sing lead in several rock and roll bands for fifteen years as a professional musician. I still play, mostly in my church’s Praise and Worship band, and occasionally in pit orchestras for community and civic theatre musical productions.

What do you think is the ideal age to begin?

As soon as a child shows interest ... never to young! My granddaughter was only two when I noticed she was playing a toy piano will all ten fingers. Really working the keys, not just poking at them like most kids. I encouraged my daughter to get her into piano lessons as soon as possible. Their budget was tight at the time, young family and all, but she’s five now and taking lessons. I think she’s really got the talent.

You seem to have gotten into a lot of trouble when you were a young man. Is there anything your parents might have done differently to help prevent that?

No, and aside from being a Hippie as a young man, doing the pot, free love and all that, if you call that a lot of trouble, I didn’t at the time of course, I did not really get myself into a lot of trouble until I was in my mid fifties. Nobody’s fault but my own. My business had failed, my marriage was on the rocks, I was at a spiritual all time low, not connected to God at all, the way my strong Christian parents had raised me, and ... I just got lost, I mean really lost in the world of drug addiction and sensual, sexual gratification. Nearly killed me, and would have except for my finding Christ one day, and receiving Grace. I laid my sins and addictions down at the cross and asked God to take these demons from me, please free me, heal me and make me whole again, and ... praise God, He did. I’ve not had one single craving or tempting thought or impulse since that moment. And anyone who has had or knows someone who has had a serious narcotics addiction can tell you that is nothing short of a miracle. I write about all of this in my first book, I Romanced the Stone (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie).

How much influence do you think parents have on their children’s future lives?

Immense. Either positive or negative, the kind of parenting a child receives will mark them for life with advantage or disadvantage. Parenting, good parenting, is, sadly I believe, becoming a lost art. And I believe in lovingly administered corporal punishment, too. A good smack or two on the behind does a lot more to steer a kid in the right direction than these wimpy “time-outs” that are so popular these days. Ridiculous. The kid’s got video games, internet, comic books, all kinds of stuff to do in his or her bedroom, and you call that disciplining? Also of utmost importance is providing spiritual direction. Had I not known and remembered my Christian teachings as a child, I may not have thought to turn to the altar decades later for redemption. That direction I received from my parents as a kid saved my life and soul many, many years later.

What’s the most important thing your parents did right when you were a kid?

Even thought we were poor, Dad was a preacher in a very small denomination, we were never for lack of love and strong family togetherness. I always knew Mom and Dad loved each other and all us boys. We did things together, always had family dinners together, every day, Dad took time to play ball with us boys ... it was great. I didn’t know how fortunate I was to have such a together and loving family until I was grown and out in the world, where I discovered it was the exception for so many, not the rule.

You’re now an author of books for adults. Did you like to read when you were a kid?

Oh sure. Mom and Dad always read to us boys and we all learned to read at very early ages. I loved comic books as a grade school kid, then graduated to classic novels in Junior High, and turned into a sci-fi fan into High School. By the time I was in college I was well read in all genres.

What are the titles of your books, and where can people find out more about you?

Well the memoir I mentioned above, I Romanced the Stone (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie), then my first novel, Owen Fiddler, and my last release is Between the Storm and the Rainbow. This year I will have my second novel published, titled, Beware the Devil’s Hug.

All three publications so far are available on and can also be ordered from most bookstores, both in paperback format, Kindlereader, and other EBooks formats.

I have a popular blog at: <>

You can tweet with me at: <>, and

If you Facebook, we can “face” each other at <>

Thank you for having me on your blog to share with your readers today, Janet. I will of course stop in a few times this afternoon and early evening to interact with anyone who comments with any questions or thoughts they’d like to share. Thanks again, and God bless.

Thank you for sharing with us.


Vivian Zabel said...

Thankfully you knew about the "right" road, Marvin, so that you could return to it.

I taught for nearly 30 years and saw how parents became more interested in being their children's friends than being parents. It's a shame.

Marvin D Wilson said...

Thanks, Janet for having me on today and doing such a fine job formatting this feature post.

Vivian, yes, thankfully!

Janet Ann Collins said...

Thanks, Vivian, and you are more than welcome, Marvin.

Magdalena Ball said...

Great interview Marvin and Janet. I agree with you Marvin, as parent and child, about the value of music for children. It's not only a terrific way to help them develop those little neurons and increase capabilities in all subject areas, but it's a wonderful outlet later when their emotions can be a bit overwhelming. Plus, it's gorgeous to have a house filled with music. Thanks for sharing with us.

Karen Cioffi said...

What a great interview Janet.

Marvin, I agree with much of what you say about child rearing. I think we're creating a society where there are no consequences for actions.

The same is going on in many of our schools. Administrations don't want "bad marks" against their schools so sweep much that goes on under the rug. The children don't get the absolutely needed consequences for some serious actions.

I also think music and sports are essential for kids. I played a number of instruments over the years. For my grandsons I have a toy guitar, flute, harmonica, accordion, drums and more.

And providing a sound, loving and spiritual foundation can be life-saving as you know.

Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Marvin, you're a very interesting person. That's quite an inspirational story to tell the world. It helps having good parents. Mine taught us the value of good hard work ethics.

Stephen Tremp

Unknown said...

You were very fortunate to have a wonderful family and upbringing. Thank you for sharing your story with the world so others will see that there is forgiveness and salvation.

Janet Ann Collins said...

Thanks for so many nice comments. Marvin has had an interesting life and I enjoyed interviewing him.

Unknown said...

Awesome interview! My daughter's chorus teacher told me that she deals with so many parents who don't really support their kids' interest in music. She was glad to see that I did. I just call that being a good parent!

What an inspirational story you have Marvin! Great to have an opportunity to get to know you better.

Accountant, Author & Freelance Writer said...

Great inteview Marvin. It was a pleasure to learn more about your and your writing.

Marvin D Wilson said...

Magdalena- Thanks and you're welcome, and I agree about all those neurons connecting ... :)

Karen - I see we are on the same page in many ways, hmm?

Stephen - Good hard work ethics is SUCH a valuable lesson for children to learn, I agree.

Kathy - Thank you, and yes sharing my story in my memoir was not only healing to me, I've received so many letters and emails from people I've never met telling me how it inspired them to seek help and redemption - that makes a writer's universe, hmm?

Janet - Thanks so much again for having me on and sharing with your readers.

Mari - sigh, yes, I wish more parents would support and encourage kids with music.

AA&F Writer, thank you, it was good to be here. Have a blessed life!

Janet Ann Collins said...

Thanks for interacting with our visitors, Marvin. Now we all know you better.

Anonymous said...

Interesting interview. Thank you for sharing about your life and your experiences.

Dallas said...

Wonderful interview. I loved the parallel of taking music lessons. I never did as a kid, but I am trying to learn to play the guitar now. It has opened up a whole new world of creativity for me!

Thanks Janet for sharing this.

:) Dallas

Janet Ann Collins said...

Thank you, Dallas. I never had music lessons either, unless you count singing in a children's choir at church. But I'm an appreciator of other people's music.

Helena Harper said...

What a truly absorbing interview - thank you Janet, and thank you, Marvin, for being so open and honest. I had no idea, by the way, that you were so musical and had been a professional musician. I enjoy singing but playing musical instruments is not something I have a great talent for.

And I agree with what you say about bringing up children. I'm grateful my parents disciplined me with a smack or two when I did something wrong. My father in actual fact had a good strategy when I got into a tantrum - he just put my head under the cold water tap and I stopped immediately. Where he got the idea from, I don't know, but it certainly worked!

You certainly have many sides to your character, Marvin, and I enjoy learning more about you each time you're featured in a blog post.


Martha said...

I agree with you on how music can play an important role in a child's life. Both of my girls take piano. They love it when they struggle through a piece and finally get it right. The feeling of success because you tried hard is wonderful.
Martha Swirzinski

Janet Ann Collins said...

Thanks, Helena and Martha.