Free Bird

This coming Sunday, Giovanni and his band Infinity² will be performing at K.J. Farrells in Bellmore again. They performed last year as part of Music Emporium’s band program. Last year, Giovanni had been playing for about a year. He’s now two years into guitar and he’s really starting to become comfortable with the instrument. I hear him play and I’m pretty amazed. As a parent, it’s great to see your child love learning a skill like guitar. Hey, I mean I’d be fine if my child wasn’t really accomplishing anything but was able to maintain good friendships and was essentially a happy child. It’s a bonus when you see them learning skills and basically growing. In any case, the last song on their setlist is Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird. Giovanni has some crazy solo work to do in the second half of the song but I’ve seen him practice it many times and as far as my layman ear’s can tell, he has it totally nailed. I can’t wait to see him perform with the rest of his band.

Giovanni is doing well at Chaminade. One of the highlights of my night is when Giovanni comes up and asks me or Lisa to test him on material he’s studying for an upcoming test. We hold his notes and ask him questions and he just goes and gives us a lecture, describing what he knows. He does it like he’s telling us a story, a story he enjoys. Awesome.

Antonio is full-on into PC gaming and he has a group of friends he’s on Skype with nightly. A few of them are from out of state, Utah and elsewhere. I screened his calls to make sure they were kids, of course. He makes videos and posts them up to YouTube. He’s active on twitter, promoting his videos, and he’s getting pretty good at Photoshop and Premiere. He watches Adobe tutorials and I’m pretty impressed with the skill set he’s learning. I suppose I shouldn’t be thrilled he’s constantly playing games with his friends, but again he’s happy and he talks to me so it’s all good. And I love how he’s getting really good at those professional-grade tools. I have a feeling those skills will come in very handy in the years ahead.

Marco and Antonio are at the tail end of their regular basketball seasons, but we signed them up for more advanced post-season basketball. We’re hoping they get picked up by one of the travel teams, but I think they need more work. The place we have them at has excellent instructors and I expect them to get a lot better since they never really had this kind of advanced instruction. They love  the sport and put a lot of effort into it. They’re also both heavily into Nike sneakers, too. Many of the kids are, even the ones that don’t play Basketball. It amazes me how Nike created such powerful brands around their footwear. These sneakers are as stylish as they are expensive. They cost $200 or more. It’s a shame they cost so much but make no mistake, they perform. They are made really well and provide superior grip to anything else we’ve tried. I’ve seen it before my very eyes… kids slipping on sub-par floors and the kids with the good shoes have a firm grip on the ground, allowing them to break, turn, and accelerate as fast as their limbs will take them.

Serafina is playing a lot of basketball too. I didn’t sign her up at the more advanced sports center, even though they have programs for 2nd graders. I mean, there is only so much financial burden we can take. However, she’s in C.Y.O. and P.A.L. and ;earning a lot. We will probably sign her up at the sports center this coming summer, though. It will be an excellent thing for her to do. They have camps, too, which is something we may look at.

Serafina is also starting to draw every day. She has her little spot on our kitchen island and she watches Netflix TV shows with her headphones and draws for hours. I started teaching her formally how to draw and she’s loving the time with me. I’m not a great artist, but my mom and Grandfather were and I spent my childhood struggling to become really good. I got so-so, but gave it up for programming computers. I can’t wait to see how Sera develops with her drawing.

Oh, interesting factoid. None of my kids watch TV. I mean the kind with commercials. They are the Netflix generation. Also, none of my kids have any interest in Facebook. Interesting, no?

Lots of basketball

Antonio has been playing a lot of basketball. His coach entered their C.Y.O. team into a few tournaments and they did really well. They made it to the championship game in the Bayhawk Christmas Classic hosted by St. Dominic but fell to Sacred Heart, a stacked team from North Merrick that didn’t seem to belong in our division. Antonio has been heavy into PC gaming since he built his own computer this summer. He’s getting better and better with Adobe Photoshop, Premiere, and After Effects. I am still hoping he’ll wake up and start monetizing his growing skills. Lots of his peers could benefit from his ability to create intros to their youtube channel videos and Antonio is fully acclimated to the whole process.

As an aside… it’s interesting to see how Antonio and Giovanni differ in their view of technology. For Christmas, they both wanted upgraded video cards. Antonio wanted a GeForce 770 a hefty upgrade from his 660. Giovanni wanted nothing other than the 780, a card that came with a $200 premium over the 770. Antonio looked at the benchmarks and immediately saw only moderate performance gains over the 770. He knew Santa has a “budget” and opted for the 770 + some sleek new Air Jordan 11 Gamma Blue’s. In the end, Giovanni did get slightly better frames, but Antonio didn’t care and is loving his new basketball shoes.

Marco is even more intensely into basketball shoes than his older brother Antonio. He’s on 2 basketball teams and is online looking at shoes almost daily. Now, you may think these shoes are overrated. Overprice sure, that’s true. However, compared to a “cheap shoe” they definitely perform much better. When you watch Marco run across the court and stop on a dime, you know the shoe is doing it’s work. A lot of the kids in an “average” shoe are slipping and sliding all over the place. Of course, Marco uses baby wipes to clean the bottom of his shoes before and after every game so clearing the   dirt and dust from the rubber bottoms also helps. Who said obsession was a bad thing?

Sera is also in 2 basketball programs: C.Y.O. (Catholic Youth Organization) and P.A.L  (Police Activity League… I think). She loves it so far and now that I’ve been through things twice before with Antonio and Marco, I’m pretty well prepared to give her the opportunities the other boys didn’t have. That is… if you want to get good at a sport, you need to do it as much as you can, all year long. Hey, if they love it then I support them.

Infinity² – Giovanni and his band rock K.J. Farrells in Bellmore

Giovanni has been taking guitar lessons since January 2012 so he’s been playing for a little over a year now. He has also been in a band class since November. For this additional hour a week, he and a few other kids his age practice playing songs together. The band who call themselves Infinity² played their first gig at K.J. Farrells in Bellmore on February 10. The Music Emporium did a great job poutting together the event. K.J. Farrells is a great place for local live music. The Sunday afternoon was a perfect time, too, and we just barely missed canceling the event since we had that big snow storm the day before. They had Blonde Ambition on tap, a great beer from the Great South bay brewery. So that was like the cherry on top of a very tasty sundae.

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The members are as follows:

  • Brendan Tominey – Guitar
  • Giovanni Codignotto – Guitar <—- that’s my kid!
  • Max DeGeorge – Bass
  • Samantha Coppola – Vocals
  • Vincent Tenaglia – Drums

Brendan is Giovanni’s friend from school. They are led by a veteran musician Artie Blaurock. Arty has been playing in bands and teaching music for decades. If you google him you’ll see he’s got a lot of experience under his belt. In fact, he was Giovanni’s music teacher at his pre-school.

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There were a lot of bands playing that day and Infinity² were the closers. They rocked the house. Here is a shot of a bunch of Giovanni and Brendan’s friends from school, with Serafina as a bonus:

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Here is a picture of the band after one of their practices:

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Here are youtube links to each song. I got them all on video. At the end I have a link to Giovanni’s awesome solos.

Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey

Wanted Dead or Alive – Bon Jovi

Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin

Before He Cheats – Carrie Underwood

Unfortunately, the audio was cut off on this one. I guess it was good enough to trigger the DMCA hornets? However, I uploaded a copy of it to my website: http://primordia.com/upload/beforeHeCheats.mp4. It’s best to download this link, streaming is not optimized.

Beat It – Michael Jackson

And here is a special video I made that has all of Giovanni’s solos:

The band is working on their next gig. I think the experience is awesome and I’m so very proud of all the kids who played in the band. They are all so very talented. For Giovanni, I’m especially proud of his effort over the past year and how he pulled off some of those difficult solos.