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The March King Essay

1206 words - 5 pages

“This boy ought to do something useful, I’ll teach him some music.” (10) John Esputa suggested to Antonio Sousa as his young son, John Philip Sousa, yearned for the opportunity to learn the ways of a musician. From a stubborn boy attempting to play the violin and trombone to the old man conducting his own talented band, deciding to learn music made John Philip Sousa the man who earned the grand title of The March King. The songs he wrote traveled word-wide, many pieces spreading across continents during the late 1800s till present day. He inspired thousands with his pieces and endless determination. The March King’s life consisted of bombastic marches and endless symphonies till his final breath.
John Philip Sousa’s life started on November sixth, 1854 in Washington. “Philip was a rugged individualist at the age of four.”(9). His early stubborn nature prevented him from attending school due to catching pneumonia from sleeping outdoors when his mother denied him sweets. Sousa’s home-schooling left him craving for an activity and John Esputa started to teach young Philip music. A variety of music lessons took place, leaving Sousa frustrated with critical teachers and challenging new instruments. Eventually he enrolled in school, mainly for safety from the upcoming war, but the young musician excelled in his studies. Meanwhile, trouble with his music lessons occurred, leading him to quit music and attempt baking instead. His heart already belonged to music though, and he returned to music as the child prodigy who fearlessly performed at age ten for large audiences. He already conducted a band of grown men, accepted offers to play in a circus band, and ended up joining the Marine Band before his late teens. The Marine Band allowed him to experience the types of music that later influenced his own creative genius when composing. At only age eighteen, Sousa accomplished many musical feats and only continued to rise.
Musical endeavor after musical endeavor, John Philip Sousa wrote a few operettas that brought him to the position of Marine Band Leader. “You’ve made it Mr.Philip,”(58) an older band member told him after successfully conducting the band at President Haye’s New Year Reception. His unique take on the music allowed him to stand out and make an even bigger name for the band. His musical talent exhibited itself through many challenges, such as performing at a moment’s notice with only one drummer, composing new songs, like President Garfield’s Funeral March, in a rush, and dealing with avid rehearsals to have the band playing at the level he desired. “I fancy musicians still entertain a vague idea that military band is inferior to the symphony orchestra; inferior it is not. It is simply different,” Sousa wrote when the band’s amazing performance shocked bystanders. At this point, Sousa’s marches drifted among many bands, but his sound remained a trademark of his band only. Sousa’s style, music conducted in six/eight time with...

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