When you develop a passion for something at an early age, a mentor can help enhance that passion so it will stay with you for life. A youth sports coach who takes the time to show a Little League child how to throw a change-up. A published author who helps a young writer explore new ways to engage an audience. A Girl Scout leader who stays after meetings to work with her troop on fundraising flyers. Or, in the case of my son, a music teacher who not only developed his talent, not only made him a better drummer, he made him a more complete musician.
In the fall of sixth grade, my son had started to move away from recreation sports like basketball and baseball and towards music. He had started taking lessons at More Than Music in North Kingstown and had his own drum kit at both my house and his mother’s. He began listening to a wide range of music (jazz, blues, rock, funk) and was starting to think and understand what the musicians were doing. Why they played this tempo or used that fill in that part of a song. He improved his drumming and timing, and he was eager to join the school band. I remember the day he told me about his music teacher, Mr. Iadevia. He was excited to join the school band whose band leader was also a drummer. He had witnessed Mr. I showing a student how to perform a certain section of a song on drums. A small sample of how good a musician Mr. Iadevia is. He knew then that he had found a music mentor.
For three years at Wickford Middle School, my son played in the band. He tried out for the jazz band in seventh grade and made it as the drummer. In eighth grade, he again played in the jazz band as the drummer and sometimes guitar player. In addition, he was encouraged by Mr. Iadevia to try out for Junior All-State Jazz Band. He tried out and was selected as the Junior Jazz Band drummer. Every step of the way, Mr. Iadevia was there for encouragement and support. He was tough and fair with my son, even giving him a less than satisfactory grade one quarter because my son didn’t complete and hand in the required practice sheets. Despite his presence in the band and Jazz band, Mr. Iadevia required that my son comply with his class requirements. Tough and fair, Mr. Iadevia has my respect for that. In the quarters to follow my son’s less than satisfactory grade, he achieved nothing less than an A. A great lesson for him to learn at such a young age.
My son’s love of music is incredible. He plays two instruments very well and practices for hours daily. His passion for music started in the 6th grade with the help of Mr. Iadevia, who I am happy to report was just named the North Kingstown Teacher of the Year. A well deserved honor for a great teacher of not only music, but valuable life lessons. I know my son is better off having met him, worked with him, watched him play music, and simply was in the presence of an incredibly talented musician. Congratulations Mr. Iadevia on a well deserved honor.