By Nancy Gutierrez
Jeremy Moreno began playing guitar as an eighth grade student at Steve Garvey Junior High School. When he graduated and began attending Lindsay High School he enrolled in the guitar class, taught by Nancy Wills.
Then near the end of his freshman year Jeremy was diagnosed with bacterial spinal meningitis, a disease that kept him in a light coma for weeks and has now left him paralyzed from the neck down. Last semester Jeremy returned to school after a year of home-schooling and therapy. With the help of a nurse and his mom, Cathy, Jeremy attended one period of chemistry each day.
"He's been wanting to take another class," Cathy said. "He enjoyed it so much his freshman year that he decided to take guitar again."
So, at the start of the 2004 spring semester Jeremy was back in his guitar class this time learning music theory and composition.
"I've learned notes and rhythms and eventually I want to write music," Jeremy said.
But Jeremy isn't doing this alone. In order for him to hear the music he is writing someone must play his melody for him. Cathy stepped right in and volunteered to learn. She has been attending guitar class with Jeremy since day one, not to supervise, but to learn how to play.
According to Jeremy, "she's getting there."
Cathy said she didn't intend to learn to play guitar but knew Jeremy really wanted to take the guitar class again.
"In order for him to hear what he is writing someone has to play it for him," Cathy said. "So Nancy is teaching me."
Teacher Nancy Wills said she enjoys having them both in class and remembers the day Jeremy became sick and did not show up for the final.
"He was so excited about guitar. And the day before the final he wasn't in class." she said. "He is very musical. And the fact that his mom is willing to be here helps the both of them."
Wills admits that she is not used to teaching music theory. She started by teaching Jeremy notes and scales, and for homework he must compose melody's with the notes he has learned. Jeremy must identify the notes and arrange the melody and a nurse writes what he has created on sheet music. Then Cathy will play the melody and if Jeremy doesn't like something he must change it. It took Jeremy a few days to create his first melody, but, Wills said he is progressing quickly.
"He really understands the notes," she said. "Soon he'll be writing music that will be too hard for his mom to play."
In fact Wills believes he will eventually write complete songs and hopes he will put words to them.
"It's really good for him to get back into guitar," Cathy said. "He is very artistic."