The “Guitar Man” Stops By Juvie

City Youth Now kick started the New Year with a visit from musician and author of “Don’t Shoot! I’m the Guitar Man”, Buzzy Martin. The boys of Unit 3 and Unit 6 were the lucky Units who got the chance to listen to Buzzy’s presentation. He provided a great opportunity for these boys to let loose and act like kids. It was hilarious to see what happens to a room full of adolescent boys the instant Buzzy began strumming his guitar. Quickly, each boy sheds his tough exterior and they morph back into the children they are; dancing, singing, letting loose with no concern about how silly they look. This was just a warm-up to the important message Buzzy Martin had for these young men: follow your dreams, and don’t take no for an answer no matter how many times people tell you those dreams are not possible.

Buzzy’s own life is a testament to this message. He moved to California from Michigan to play music, then he spent time teaching music to incarcerated youth, which subsequently led him to a three-year stint teaching a music class to inmates at San Quentin State Prison. He then compiled his notes from his three years teaching at the “Q” and wrote a book about his experience. His dream was to get his book published— he was going to do everything in his power to do so, which ultimately led to Buzzy investing his own money and self-publishing the book. His presentation focused less on the time he spent teaching music at the “Q”, and more on his path to following his dream of publishing his book (which is set to become a major motion picture). Buzzy captivated his audience and instilled in these young men the message that anything is possible if you dream, set goals, and work hard.

Walking into a presentation in juvenile hall you can never predict how the group of boys will react. Buzzy’s first presentation was with Unit 3; nobody in the class had read his book, and few knew who he was. All gave him their full attention, as Buzzy opened up playing “My Girl”. Although timid at first, by the chorus counselors and inmates joined together singing and dancing along to the music. Buzzy encouraged each to follow their dreams, and prove to society the potential they have. One boy declared, “I am better than this, I’m worth it, I mean something”, and several boys asked for copies of the book after class.

The second presentation was with the young men of Unit 6 who were equally as giddy when the music started. At one moment during the presentation a shy hand went up and the young man asked if he could play Buzzy’s guitar. As he began to play he captured the attention of the entire room, the once rowdy boys fell silent to listen to the beautiful music this young man was playing. He didn’t own a guitar, so it’s a wonder where he learned to play so well, Buzzy’s advice “keep playing man, music might just save your life”.

City Youth Now is so happy to have had the chance to invite Buzzy Martin to juvenile hall. Music brings people together no matter what neighborhood you’re from, how much money you have, or the color of your skin. Music has a power to turn us all into carefree adolescents, and it was an amazing sight to see. Buzzy is a living example of what one can gain by following their dreams. His message to these boys is an insightful one: the road to prison is a dead end street, each and every one of these young men has potential but is it up to them to pursue their dreams.

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1 Response to “The “Guitar Man” Stops By Juvie”



  1. 1 Don’t Shoot, I’m The Guitar Man | JaZzyMaE Media Trackback on January 23, 2011 at 11:39 am
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