Hi! I am Marilyn, born in Hudson, NY to a couple who worked the line at the Universal Match Factory, which was considered to be a darn good job back then. My grandfather, Harrison Miller, played fiddle at the local dances and I hear he was the heartthrob. The oldest of four girls, and younger by eight years than my brother, I always wanted to learn to play music. Anything. I guess I caught the MUSIC GENE from Harrison, who died a very poor man, which is likely why my parents discouraged all attempts at music. I tried piano in elementary school, but the teacher dropped me when the toy piano I practiced on wasn't cutting it.

As I got older, I joined the band and the chorus. But because Music was not a priority in my household ...rather, they spent their money on feeding and clothing us... I had to borrow my instruments from the school, whatever was available. I had a tuba (I am five feet tall now, you can imagine me as a child with one of those!!!) a french horn, a bassoon, and finally a clarinet for the band. I stuck with the clarinet.

One day the band teacher announced that he was selling Conn classical guitars....and I started hounding my parents to let me have one. There was one that had a serious bump on the bout which the teacher was 'letting go for $50'. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when they finally gave me the money for it... I think that was my Christmas and Birthday present for many years thereafter...

My first time on stage (yep, with that guitar), was at a Talent Show at school. I am naturally shy. I don't know why I ever thought I could get on that stage and sing in front of an audience when I couldn't even speak up in class. I walked onto the stage with my guitar, looked out at the audience, and froze. I tried to play, but could not... I couldn't do anything. They had to come out and get me... I was horrified.

My best friend was the musical child prodigy at Germantown Central School, and of course, everything I did got compared to what she did... and was found lacking. I decided that the best thing I could do as far as music was concerned was to listen to others... but the desire to MAKE it never left me.

I raised a family and worked full time and finally went to school for my master's degree. When my degree was completed, and my family grown, I found myself with time to fill and once again picked up a guitar. I found a teacher who listened to my tale of woe and my fears that I didn't have a musical bone in my body and he said, 'Can you hear songs in your head with nothing playing?' Well, yeah... 'Then we just have to get it out into your fingers.'

I think the most important lesson I learned from that man was that making music was hard work and had more to do with work than with 'talent'. So I worked. And he was right, I did learn.

I have since met lots of people who have encouraged me further....people who have helped me become a better singer, people who have played with me and taught me all kinds of things.

Some advice: if you are just starting out, or not sure if you 'have it'... Just keep moving ahead. 

What matters most is, **Are you having fun?** Then keep going for YOU. 

The second thing is, **Are they having fun listening to you?** Then keep going for US.

And KNOW... if you love music, it will pay you back so much more than you put in...