At a very young age it became apparent to MJ Trieblod and Bill West that their son Jack Triebold was fascinated with music. From the radio, to toys to videos, everything was about music.
He wanted a guitar long before he can even remember. And at just 4 years old, he got his first one.
But even more special to him is the instructor who agreed to work with him.
Jack’s father is a radio personality and program director for The Wolf and, needless to say, has met and befriended many famous musicians over the years.
Local and nationally known musician Eddie Bush is one of those.
In addition to Bush’s successful career and his philanthropic work, he is also a guitar instructor. Over lunch one day he mentioned that to MJ and Bill.
Having met Jack before, Bush said he felt Jack could really benefit from the lessons because of his insecurities and lack of confidence. “Jack was very jumpy and nervous, also very conscious of his physical challenges at the time,” said Bush.
“He has improved 100 percent since then. The thing I’ve always loved about Jack is that he really just loved the music and I can obviously relate to that. I had my own challenges growing up and the thing that got me through was music. I basically told Bill and MJ that music was going to be a very important role in his whole psychology and personality and how he dealt with life.”
That put the wheels into motion for Jack to learn guitar.
Jack just turned 13 and is a student at Cario Middle School.
At first glance he is just like any other kid, full of life and energy. His smile is contagious and his manners are impeccable. He’s one of those kids who is hard to overlook.
But behind his infectious personality is a little known fact.
He was born with Cerebral Palsy. He has the mildest of the three forms, but it has affected the left side of his body to include gripping difficulties, sight difficulties and more. He is also diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder.
He has endured years of occupational, speech and physical therapy and 10 surgeries over 11 years.
It took years for him to decide if he was left handed or right handed. In fact, he uses opposite hands for various tasks. His left leg is shorter than the other, along with various foot and heel issues that are being corrected.
The physical aspects of the disease are hardly noticeable.
And today, when Jack’s on-stage, no one would have a clue.
According to Eddie Bush he certainly has a bright future that depends on how directed and driven he is. The beauty of Bush’s experience with Jack is that, as with any kid, “you see them start from square one and blossom... that in itself is very rewarding. But beyond that, Jack had his challenges that most kids are fortunate not to face.” Bush said that early on Jack and everyone else were hopeful it would create a sense of confidence he really needed.
His first guitar
In 2008 Bush told Bill and MJ to buy a 3/4 Fender Guitar for children. It was still giant for him but Bush worked his magic and went to work teaching Jack how to play it.
“I was blown away that Eddie taught lessons, considering I had only ever seen him on-stage performing,” Bill said.
At the time, Jack was Bush’s youngest student. Today he is Bush’s longest running student. He began in February of 2008 and by October he was on-stage at The Windjammer (for a class recital), performing to a packed audience.
Bill described the scene as a typical crazy night at the Windjammer, only these were kids playing.
Jack had a cast on his leg and Bush had to pick him up and place him on the stool to perform.
According to his mother MJ, he didn’t want to leave that stage that night.
Since then, Jack has begun learning piano and he sings and writes music.
He joined the chorus at Cario Middle under director Scott Brunson and was selected to participate in the Honor Choir among 140 other students from 11 different states.
Jack has been busy with Bush learning chords and notes and strings. They’re now on to scales and improvising, which is Jack’s favorite.
“I enjoy soloing and coming up with unique things on the spot,” Jack said.
“My goal is to get better at improvising and go beyond my limits,” he said.
“I want to learn all the tricks - not just one thing. And I am going to put all I have into it.”
Jack’s lessons with Bush last about an hour, but he practices everyday after he completes his homework. On weekends and holidays he practices about five times a day.
Bush is pleased to see Jack’s song writing which will allow him to really develop and discover his own voice.
He most recently participated in a holiday show with Bush and other guitar students at The Waterdog Grill and participates in the praise choir at Point Hope United Methodist Church.
He has performed at Somerby, opened for Phillip Phillips and will play three to four half-hour sets on New Year’s Day at Palmetto Bay Sunrise Cafe in Hilton Head during their annual pajama party.
He wants to get as much performing in as he can, he said, and is available to perform at charitable events.
Bush has played at Jack’s school on a number of occasions. Last year a student was inspired to begin lessons because of Jack. “Jack had an impact on friends without even realizing it.”
“The guitar and music in general has turned into the vehicle for Jack’s self expression,” said Bush.
“His self confidence and focus has improved and he is starting to get sense of self.”
Jack’s favorite thing about guitar and music in general is the big notes and the unique sounds or the different sounds of a “lick.”
“It makes me feel good. It makes me feel free,” he said. And his mom added that he is the happiest on-stage.
Country and classic rock are his favorite genres, and Keith Urban is one of his favorite musicians.
Eric Church, he said, puts on the best show.
He now plays a Dillion Guitar, which is a signature Eddie Bush guitar.
His parents have seen significant growth in their son, not only from a musical perspective, but academically as well.
They were told he would never function in a regular classroom setting. MJ said that perhaps the guitar has enabled him to study better and even communicate. Before he had a hard time with math as well as processing long sentences.
He has a tremendous memory and his work and practice with Bush has really brought that out in him, she said.
“It truly has been exciting for all of us to watch his future unfold like this,” Bill said.
And with Bill being in radio, Jack has gotten to meet some of the highest level musical entertainers in the industry.
He collects picks from each one and now has his own to trade with people he meets.
Jack’s advice to other up-and-coming musicians is to “be who you want to be. Write from the heart and stick to it,” he said.
“If you want to simply play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, then play it.”
Jack’s goal is to move to Nashville one day and become a professional singer/songwriter.
He is not sure if he will attend college but if he does he hopes to go to Belmont University to study music business just like Chris Young and Brad Paisley did.
And as far as Eddie Bush goes, appreciation is an understatement, Jack said.
“Any other instructor would have probably just taught me chords and would not have pushed me to be who I am,” he said.
“Eddie is so patient and he saw something in me and he has worked hard with me,” Jack said.
“Eddie has really created an opportunity for him,” his father agreed.
“I told Jack that music could be his crutch to lean on for self confidence and to feel better about his self - and in fact it would help him integrate with the people around him more. That’s exactly what happened,” said Bush.
The message Bush tries to teach all of his students is “you don’t go too fast. Take your time and get to know what you’re doing. Be serious in identifying things you view as limitations.”
Bush said he has tried on the one hand to make Jack aware of how far he has come and on the other hand to gently remind him there are things still yet to achieve and things to be aware of as he grows.
Bush teaches lessons Tuesday through Saturday. Each lesson is an hour.
A number of those kids had never played in front of a crowd until Bush organizes a show for them.
He’s taught several hundred kids over the years and he tells each student, “I refuse to do this half way.”
And he is not going to pat anyone on the back and tell them they were fantastic when they were not.
A passionate advocate of music education, Bush has been teaching guitar and music for nearly 20 years. In 2009, Eddie partnered with EdisonLearning, a company aimed at assisting teachers and communities to improve public schools and boost student performance.
At the request of EdisonLearning, Eddie composed Power of You, which incorporated EdisonLearning’s core values of wisdom, justice, courage, compassion, hope, respect, responsibility and integrity. See more at: www.eddiebush.com.
He said teaching was not a natural progression he yearned towards.
In fact he was nervous about it.
Being able to play the guitar does not necessarily equate to being able to teach it, he said.
But he quickly learned that he had a personal interest in using what is his passion to make a difference in kids when they need it.
“It’s about being honest with them and helping them to understand the value of focus and commitment and hard work and the willingness to win success in things you set forth to achieve,” he said.
Follow Jack’s dreams by visiting his Jack Triebold Facebook page. Find upcoming events and performances at his website, www.jacktriebold.com.