Even after 7 years of playing guitar, Walpole High School senior and Dedham Real School student Ben Reagan says that, "Not once did going to lessons feel like going to school. The best thing about it is that it was informative while also being extremely fun and easy going."
The following article is part of our Student Spotlight series, which highlights the stories and experiences of Real School students and their families.
Dedham Real School of Music Student and Guitarist Ben Reagan
When you find yourself playing in a parade with your band on the back of a moving flatbed truck, you might say, I can't believe how fun this is! or, how am I supposed to keep playing on a moving truck?
For Dedham Real School guitar student Ben Reagan and his Not My Tempo bandmates, they were having both thoughts simultaneously during their 'moving' performance at the recent Dedham Flag Day Parade.
That's just one of the many great musical experiences Ben has had since taking his first guitar lesson in the 5th grade. And now as an aspiring engineer going into his senior year of high school, Ben says that, "playing music and the guitar will never leave me."
Ben talks about how he's grown as a musician with the support of great music instructors, supportive parents, and his own self-determination.
You have obviously thrived with music. What do you attribute to your growth and rapid development?
Ben: Part of it is my own doing. I always strive to be perfect, and though I never will be, that urge allows me to continue to improve. I love hearing things that I'm not sure I could play and then sitting down and trying to learn it. There are so many things to learn about music and guitar and that's why I'm always going back.
The other part of it is the fantastic people around me. Both Nick Vecchio and Pat Flaherty are great instructors that will always have some very good and useful insight every time I'm with them. My parents have had a great impact as well. Along with being supportive all the time, they both listened to music that I feel had a huge effect on my development.
That's a great tribute to your teachers and parents. At what age did you start with music lessons and where did you take lessons?
Ben: I started taking lessons in 5th grade, which means I was 10 years old. I started my lessons at the old Daddy's Junky Music in Dedham.
How has playing music made a positive impact on your life?
Ben: Music has given me a lot of confidence. Guitar is a way for me to be unique and has allowed me to differentiate myself from others. It has also given me a thing to do. I try to play any chance I get!
What are some of your favorite things to do outside of school?
Ben: I like playing basketball, video games, hanging out and playing music with my friends.
Why did you decide to come to Real School and what do you like best about it?
Ben: I wanted to learn how to play guitar, and a family member told my parents about Nick Vecchio. After a short time I was taking lessons with him, and I was really enjoying it.
The best thing about it is that it was informative while also being extremely fun and easy going. Not once did going to lessons feel like going to school.
What has been some of your most memorable experiences in music so far?
Ben: The most memorable experience so far was the Dedham Day Parade this past May. Going all across Dedham on the back of a flat bed while playing music was unforgettable. It was enjoyable, funny, and a little challenging at times.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians who are looking to develop their skills?
Ben: I would have to tell them that it is important to never stop learning. At first you may feel restricted in regards to what you can play, but eventually, you'll see that all the doors are open in regards to playing music.
What are your future plans? What are your career and/or musical goals?
Ben: My career goals are to become an engineer and be able to live comfortably on my own. Music and guitar will never leave me though. I hope that I'll be able to start a band and get to play at shows in places where people will be wanting to hear the music I'm playing.
Here's a question for Ben's parents, Lynne and Myles: what advice do you have for other parents to help support their child's music growth?
Enjoy this interest and talent of your child!! Go to the gigs, bring your family and friends. Have fun!! Let them know how proud you are of them as they grow in this field.
Like this article? Here are some others that you may enjoy:
- Faculty Spotlight Series: Andover Voice Teacher Matthew Condon-Rivera
- Adult Student Spotlight Series: Bassist Cindy Walsh
- Student Spotlight Series: Pianist and Composer Joline Maher
- Student Spotlight Series: Guitarist and Vocalist Ashley Koman
- Student Spotlight Series: Guitarist, Singer / Songwriter Elizabeth Bond
- Student Spotlight Series: Songwriter and Multi-Instrumentalist Dylan Walsh