Isaac Schmitt, a local musician, explains what motivated him to entertain his neighbors with live music performances. Isaac has now performed several driveway concerts that have filled his neighbors with joy.
See the transcript below.
Anna Bell: Today I’m thankful to have local teen musician Isaac Schmidt on the phone to talk with us about how he’s spreading joy in the community through free driveway concerts in his neighborhood. Isaac, I appreciate it so much, you being on the phone with us today.
Issac Schmidt: Thank you for having me.
AB: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, even though you’re only 16, you’ve played a few gigs already. Is that right?Tell us about, you know, what instruments you play and a little bit about your musical career so far.
IS: Yeah. So, I play the piano guitar and I sing, I started taking piano lessons when I was seven years old and that’s where I really found my love for music. My dad was in the military, so we moved around a lot. We lived in North Carolina, Florida, Japan, and now we’re in Collierville. And I had my first gig when I was 13 years old in North Carolina, played at my local country club. And since we moved here three years ago, I’ve played at the Delta Fair, Memphis National, the Highlander Scottish Pub and Highpoint Church.
AB: That’s so cool. So you said seven is when you kind of picked up the piano?
IS: My mom said, you should play the piano. And I always had an interest in it. Just kind of banging on the keys.
AB: Hey, moms know best. What kind of music do you enjoy?
IS: I like all genres, but mostly contemporary Christian and classic rock.
AB: I can imagine you probably have a little more free time on your hands right now, not being in school. How has that been and have you had a chance to work on your music at all?
IS: I’ve had a lot of chance to play music. I’m actually homeschooled so I have about the same amount of time, just a little bit more, but it’s been great.
AB: That’s great. I’d love for you to share kind of how you came up with the idea of having a driveway concert for your neighborhood. Have you heard about this before or where did that idea come from?
IS: Yeah, so I saw somebody do one on Facebook and I thought it looked fun and decided to try it here.
AB: That’s awesome. Were they local or was it somewhere, you know, out on the internet?
IS: It was my dad’s friend. I think he lives in Georgia maybe.
AB: Yeah. That’s so cool. I mean, I love most of the social media that I’m seeing that involves music and people coming together, you know, those are the most inspirational to me. I don’t know about you. I love those, those videos.
IS: Yeah, that’s very cool.
AB: So you’ve had two driveway concerts so far. How did you get the word out to your neighbors?
IS: Mainly social media, but also word of mouth.
AB: Okay. Yeah. Cool. Has that been hard with the social distancing? Are you kind of yelling from the street or what, what are you doing?
IS: It was mostly like texting with friends and Facebook.
AB: And how about the turnout? Have you had a good turnout with people in their yards?
IS: Definitely my friend estimated 150, he counted.
AB: 150, stop. That’s awesome. So tell me a little about the concerts. How have they gone and are you taking requests? Are you, you getting a playlist together?
IS: Oh, they’ve gone really well. I do a set list, but I tried my best to incorporate a request every time I make a new set list.
AB: What have some of the requests been?
IS: Sweet Home Alabame, Sweet Caroline, all that good stuff.
AB: Yeah. That’s great. So what does it kind of look like? Are you in your actual driveway?
IS: I am. I’m in the, we have a circular driveway and I’m in the middle of the circle. People are spread out across their own driveways in the median and cars, golf carts. It’s really cool.
AB: In their lawn chairs, I guess. That’s awesome. 150. That’s so cool.
IS: Yeah, it was crazy.
AB: I know I’m kind of putting you on the spot here, Isaac, but would, you might be willing to play a little something for us today.
IS: Of course.
AB: Oh, that’s awesome. Very cool. So what? What do you think you have that you can play with?
IS: I’ll be playing Piano Man by Billy Joel.
AB: Oh, Isaac, thank you so much. Oh my goodness. That was so fun. I appreciate you sharing your talent with us. I know we’ve made me smile and I’m extremely thankful for that. It’s great to bring joy to people if they’re in this hard time.
AB: Any more concerts in the future you think?
IS: I really hope so. I think and we’re planning on another one this weekend.
AB: Cool. All right. Well, honestly, just thank you so much for being a bright spot in the community right now with your music. Thank you for bringing attention to it.
IS: Yeah, absolutely.
AB: And to all who are listening, I’d like to send you all well wishes from my home to yours. Until next time, I’m Anna Bell.