My name is Amy Hopkins Raab. I grew up in a musical household, and my husband, Mike, and I have carried on the tradition with our four sons. I’ll share a little about the boys and their music, so you’ll have a sense of what our home is like. Every one of these boys has surpassed me in musical ability (I think they have more talent), but I was the one who was privileged to start them on their musical journey! When they were small, I taught them traditional preschool and folk songs. We learned to sing through the solfa (shape note) method. We sang in rounds, four part harmonies, and more. I helped each of them get started with their instruments: guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, autoharp, bodhran, and dulcimer. I taught the rudimentary knowledge, and then we went on learning together. We were singing and playing on (very small) stages as a family, by the time our eldest son was ten years old.
Nathaniel is now 22 years old, married, and in college. He is a worship director for a United Methodist Church in our city, and has served as the Chapel music director at his university. He performs on the weekends and writes some of his own songs. He plays guitar, bass guitar, piano, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, autoharp, dulcimer, and more. Nathaniel and Henry sometimes perform together.
Jonas is 20 and in an apprenticeship to become a plumber. He plays electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, and beautiful acoustic guitar. He has been a member of the worship band at his church for years.
Henry is 18 and in high school. He plays guitar, mandolin, and bodhran when he performs with his brother, but focuses his music studies on singing. He sings with the Indianapolis Maennerchor, a male German heritage chorale that is the oldest continually running choir in the nation!
Toby is 14 and in high school. He plays hammered dulcimer, piano, fiddle, and guitar. Toby is a member of the Central Indiana Folk Music and Mountain Dulcimer Society. He also plays in a church worship band.
Helping these boys learn to play and sing was the happiest experience of my life! Although I’m still enjoying their music and will do so forever, they don’t need me to teach them anymore. So I thought I’d open up my front room to others who would like a little help getting started. We’re focusing on mountain dulcimer for now. Come join me!