The Teaching Crooner by Sally Adams and David Lorms

He learned trumpet from his junior high band director and guitar from his dad. He also plays mandolin and harmonica and sings. By day he teaches High School Spanish and by night he is the leader of the Honeyboy Nelson Band. Houston native Kent Nelson was the latest guest on Make It Happen with David Lorms, a weekly live radio broadcast and posted podcast.

Nelson is one happy, fulfilled and successful man. He loves teaching Advanced Placement Spanish III, IV and V at Klein High School. A few times a month he gets to practice his other love, playing music with other fine musicians in Houston area restaurants and bars. He writes his own music, which appear on his CDs, and plays cover music along with his own in public performances. "Restaurant managers don't really care if you sound great or not," he laughed. "They just want you to give their customers what they want so they will not run off and possibly stay a bit longer. If you're good, those customers may come back when you're there the next time."

He played trumpet in Junior High and into High School. "My dad, who was and is still a great guitarist, taught me a few chords when I was 15 and I taught myself from there," said Nelson. "Dad played a lot of country and I was off playing in Rock and  Roll bands!" After high school he graduated from University of Texas with a degree in Finance. He worked as a commercial real estate appraiser for 9 years and then, after continued study at University of Houston, he was awarded teaching certificates in both English and Spanish. Music was never far away, though. He lead music at worship services which, he said, helped build his confidence and courage to sing in front of people. Couple those experiences with his wanderlust for traveling in Spanish speaking countries and a great teacher/musician/entertainer was born.

Lorms asked, "Why did you want to teach on the high school level?" Nelson chuckled, "I guess teenagers and I are on the same maturity level!" He went on to explain that he liked the challenge of teaching higher level classes and helping his students prepare for life after high school. "A lot of my kids are looking to attend college and they take it pretty seriously. You know, with high school kids I can combine grammar and vocabulary with stories about times I made language mistakes or things I saw and did during my travels. It helps to make the language come alive for them." (e.g., He ran with the bulls!)

Nelson's teaching philosophy includes exposing his students to the real world and how Spanish is used every day. "We read Spanish periodicals and watch Spanish news broadcasts and TV shows in class. I emphasize to them that Spanish makes sense. There are no silent letters, the letters will sound the same no matter what word they are in, and the word usually means that same every time you use it. That's not so in English!"

When asked, "What are your three favorite things about teaching?" without any hesitation Nelson answered, "My students, their parents and SUMMER!"

Nelson continued to play and sing for his own enjoyment. "I created the Honeyboy Nelson Band when I had finally learned enough songs to perform in front of people. I hit the Houston pavement, going to clubs and restaurants seeking gigs. I have a base player with me and sometimes others. My dad still sits in with me on occasion!" Restaurants where he plays include Gabby's on North Shepherd, Berryhill in Oak Forest, in the beer garden of the Karbach Brewery, Swanny's Grill and the Cotton Club. He enjoys playing charity benefits including the "King of Swing" event which supports the Make A Wish Foundation.  "As I get older," he said philosophically, "I prefer BBQ joints and family-type restaurants. That way I get home around 10 or 11 instead of 3 in the morning! And I don't have to suffer a drunk who wants me to play Free Bird ! It's a hobby I enjoy and it's nice to make a little money on the side!" To see where Nelson will be playing next, go to or Like him on Facebook.

During the broadcast/podcast, Nelson sang live his original song, "Texas Pride," which was inspired by a painting he liked. It is "almost free" to download on iTunes. Soon he will complete recording his next CD, People and Places. Recording at Beebe Gunn Studio in The Heights, Nelson has brought in different musicians to play with him. He covers rhythm guitar, mandolin, harmonica and trumpet. He wrote all of the songs on the CD, which were inspired by, naturally, people he has known and places he has been. "Sadly, no love songs on this one!" he lamented.

Music composition: "The hardest part of writing a song is coming up with the subject. One of my solutions was to write 10 songs about 10 different paintings by Travis Whitfield. I asked Travis questions about the paintings, studied them at length and came up with some good efforts. I'm having fun with it."

Groupies: "Friends and family come to see me. I guess I have a few other followers. No panties have been thrown onstage yet!"  

Leaving teaching for music: "In the movie version of my life I would make so much money as a musician that I could quit teaching and move into my River Oaks mansion. But in the real world I don't see that happening and I'll stay in Oak Forest. Luckily I really love what I do! As I tell my school kids, 'Pursue what you like doing. If you really enjoy it, put forth an effort, do it the best you can and you'll be successful.' I'm happy to be able to contribute to our future society by teaching high school, and am just not focused on making a lot of money. Between teaching and performing, I have a very good life."

David Lorms hosts Make It Happen With David Lorms, an internet radio show on live every Wednesday at noon with entrepreneurs, business owners, or people who have had success in their lives, their challenges and failures turned into success, and advice for people to better their lives and careers. Past episodes are available by pod cast on or on Lorms's web site and on iHeartRadio.

He is also an Award Winning Insurance Expert, Best-Selling Author having won numerous media awards for his shared industry knowledge. He's been featured in Forbes Magazine and USA Today and various other radio talk and TV shows.


Categories: Music, Radio

Tags: David Lorms, Honeyboy Nelson, Houston, Kent Nelson