SPRING HILL — Rose Dodd, 2 months old, couldn’t yet grasp a rattle, but there she was years ago at hand-bell choir practice at Keystone United Methodist Church in Odessa.
Rose, 14, a Crews Lakes Middle School eighth-grader, is back at hand-bell practice, this time playing in the group. She also plays flute in the school’s Advanced Band, alto saxophone in the Jazz Band and helps instruct sixth-graders in band.
Her mom, Kellie Dodd, is a 22-year member of the church group.
"Kellie would bring Rose in her infant seat and set her under the (bell) table. While we practiced. She’d rock Rose with her foot in time to the music," said Camille Hiller, Keystone hand-bell ringer of 25 years.
"Maybe it was those early days in hand bells that helped develop Rose’s great sense of pitch and rhythm," said Dennis Rowan, Crews Lake band director.
Last year, when Keystone was seeking additional ringers, Rose volunteered. Most members are decades older than her..
"I think it’s wonderful that Rose is taking her music past the school into the community with the bells in church," Rowan said. "She’s the top of all band students I’ve ever had."
Rowan directs the 150 member Crews Lake music program, including chorus and band. Jazz Band has 27 students who opt for a non-graded, 20-minute homeroom daily. The room swelled recently with the sounds of Proud Mary. Rose played her 60-year-old alto sax, handed down from her uncle.
"Even if I get frustrated while practicing a song on flute or saxophone, in the end, the music helps me calm down," Rose said.
Rose’s love of music goes back to her toddler booster seat days, when she enjoyed playing air guitar and accompanying car radio music.
"Her favorite song was the Rolling Stones’, I Can’t Get No Satisfaction," her mom said. "About third grade, she started asking for a flute. Santa brought one in fourth grade. She went to Band Camp with Mr. Rowan before fifth grade, and his daughter and another student gave Rose lessons."
Impressed with Rose, Rowan, she was the first sixth-grader he placed in Advanced Band. She earned a superior rating that year performing a solo for Music Performance Adjudication and another superior rating the next year. Eighth-grade evaluations come this spring.
Rose is one of five student "research assistants" for Rowan, working with sixth-graders on band performance skills.
"Rose helps with flutes. She has great leadership, she’s direct and honest, and students respond to her because she’s so good at what she does," Rowen said. "She’s a healthy competitor."
Rose includes bell choir on her list of new accomplishments. She sees the camaraderie with older ringers a plus.
"I love playing in the bell choir. While I love all of my friends that are my age and younger, being able to be around people nowhere close to my age gives a much more mature atmosphere," she said.
Rose looks forward to band at Hudson High this fall. With nine years experience, she also plans to continue playing soccer. She’d like to earn college scholarships to study music and eventually become a professional orchestral musician.
Rose also excelled in Advanced Placement classes and is on the A-B Honor Roll.
She offers advice for young musicians: "Starting out with an instrument won’t be easy and takes practice. Don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t come to you on the first try. Like I tell the younger flute players, practice makes perfect, and if you’ve ever learned a single thing about music in elementary school, I suggest learning the basics over the summer so you have a head start.
"Other than that, as long as you know how to count to four, you should be good."