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Jennifer's Heroes: Laurence Elder

By: Jennifer Black Email
By: Jennifer Black Email

December 10, 2009

You have probably heard the term "pay it forward." But what about "play it forward?" In this week's Jennifer's Heroes, Jennifer Black profiles local singer/songwriter/pianist, Laurence Elder, who is passing on his talents. She found out why he's a hero worth noting.

Elder says he didn't choose music, music chose him.

"My parents had a grand piano that now belongs to me. Sitting in their living room, I was so drawn to that thing," said elder.

Elder's passion for piano began at an early age. Although, before entering college, Elder had received no formal training. He was truly playing by ear.

"In a way, I get to live vicariously through some younger aspect of myself by teaching the kids here. I didn't have the opportunity, but I can give it to someone else."

Elder volunteers around three hours a week at the Music Resource Center in Charlottesville, teaching younger kids the art of playing the piano.

"Music is my release, it's very important to me. It's my happiness, sadness, and anger all at once," said Selu Skylark, a student of Elder's.

"I've learned how to do scales, I've learned the timing measurements, and I've learn how to play notes," added Laxim Skylark, another pupil of Elder's.

When Elder sits down to teach one of the Skylark sisters, he takes it back to basics. Elder says he learns or re-learns something every time he teaches.

An active artist, Elder is often on the road, shooting music videos or playing shows, but he says volunteering fills a void. While there's no pay, it's not always about the money for Elder; it's about the music.

"The talent that comes out of here... the Music Resource Center maybe would have been lost if people like Laurence weren't here to share their knowledge with the children," said Tajullah Skylark.

This week's hero, Laurence Elder, is showing others the keys to life are using your passion and your talents to give back.

As always, if you know a her worth noting, shoot Jennifer an email at You may just see your hero featured on the CBS19 News.

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