Saturday, June 07, 2008

Alphabet Meme: I

I is for instruments played:

None, lately. I can still play the recorder of the type we all got in elementary school before we reached Decision Time: band or chorus, and if band, what instrument. I chose band, and the clarinet, for reasons I don't remember. I do remember going into my parents' room to ask them to buy me a used one, and they asked if I'd be serious about it, and I said yes I would. I stuck with it happily for a couple of years, then stopped liking it. Our band director, Mr. Schneider, was an asshole, and the other clarinetists pointedly ignored me. Practice was stomach-churning. To this day, hearing the Chicago song "25 or 6 to 4" on the radio delivers a now-amusing microdose of middle school angst. I can still pick out the second clarinet part in our tortured arrangement, and picture my place on stage at the obligatory concert.

I remember looking longingly over at the drum section during practice sessions. I hope things have changed in 30 years, and that girls now play the drums too. I would've rocked the drums. In retrospect, it probably wouldn't have made me more of an oddball than I already was, either.

Eventually, between limited ability and limited desire, I decided that other musical endeavors would be less uncomfortable. I think it was about that time I joined the church youth choir, though it wasn't cause-and-effect. Anyway, my mother wrote to Mr. Schneider telling him I was not going to take band any more. I have no idea how she worded it, but he took me aside and said, "I didn't like your mother's note. It was too... smooth." I'm glad he did that; in proving his meanness, he erased any guilt or second thoughts I might've had about quitting.

Years later, without regret, I gave the clarinet to a boyfriend, a man with a deep and true gift for music, who should have as many instruments as his home can hold.

Lately -- probably part of the tedious midlife crisis -- I am thinking I'd like to learn to play the piano. I wonder if that's even possible?


  1. I once met a funny Italian fellow who played the piano. His redheaded friend played the harp...

  2. Get yourself a used electronic keyboard for starters and the answer is yes. You can even take lessons on your Personal Computer or television.

  3. That sounds like a good approach, anon.