So tomorrow is Ethan’s half birthday. What did you do on the day you were 18 and a half? Well, Ethan is being promoted to Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps. Wish I had a better photo, but, well… he is in Virginia and I am in Cali. So this will have to do.
Ethan is stationed at the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He attends the Navy School of Music, also referred to as the Armed Services School of Music. I wish Ethan could tell you about what he does there, because I am sure to get it wrong. But I am going to try, since his life is definitely more interesting than anything going on around my house.
His music education there consists of three parts: ear training, theory and mastery of his instrument, which is the French horn. He is a McDaniel, and therefore rocks everyone at the ear training part. The theory he has also flown through, since it is an academic venture that he tackles at the computer, and although he has never had theory, it mostly consists of principles he already grasps, but didn’t know the names for. The sticky part is the mastery of the French horn. He trains side-by-side with musicians with greatly varying experience, including many who are college graduates in music. Ethan has never even had private lessons, and although he is extremely musical, just being musical does not give him the technique he needs. He has to practice a minimum of ten hours a week, and sometimes much more in order to improve as rapidly as he wants.
It is Ethan’s plan to graduate from the music school in January. At that time he will be assigned to a Marine Band. There are twelve Marine Bands. I believe that one is in Japan, one in Hawaii, and the rest are in the continental U.S. Ethan will have the opportunity to submit his top three choices of location. In the meantime, he fills his days with P.T., marching practice, and hours and hours of French horn practice.
If anyone would like to drop him a note, he would love it, and so would I. He may be a Lance Corporal, but he is still an 18 and a half-year-old clear across the country from home. Here is his address:
School of Music, Marine Detachment
LCpl Ethan McDaniel
1420 Gator Blvd.
Norfolk, VA 23521