Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Trying Out for the Band...

Bummer. I got online to write today and saw that I had a comment on the last post that I did. I got so excited about it, but when I went to look, it was just a machine spamming an advertisement on Gucci purses... so I was sad. Oh well.

In a previous post, I talked about how my clarinets were some of my prized possessions. It's really a funny story how I came to play the clarinet in the first place....

My junior high school had a tradition of placing kids in either band or choir their sixth grade year of school. Those who chose to be in the band program had to go through a 'tryout' to see which instrument they would be best at playing (this was the premise, but I think in the end they just tried to fill in spots where they were lacking musicians in the upper levels of the school district's band program) .... The students would try various mouthpieces and try to make sounds with them, and the band directors would judge their faces and embouchure and lung capacities. From what I heard, it sounded like a pretty fun experience (as we were discouraged to play another person's instrument after the tryout) but in the end, a lot of people did not get their ideal instrument.

My friend Elyse for example desperately wanted to play the flute, but alas, she could not blow into the flute to make a proper sound and thus was thrown onto clarinet. (She excelled on clarinet... and play several musical instruments very very well now, but clarinet was certainly not her first pick)

 I was absent on the day of the official band tryouts, and my parents were relatively well off. They asked me what I wanted to play and I told them I wanted to play the clarinet. I received a clarinet.

Well, since I had missed the official band tryout, I was haphazardly thrown into one of the band courses, and I suppose from there they would have picked an instrument out for me. I was placed in the brass class, and felt very awkward sitting there on the first day with my clarinet in hand. I asked if there was any way I could be switched over to the woodwinds class and met a little resistance. But my parents, having just bought my instrument for me, told the band director otherwise and within a week, I was switched into the woodwinds class.

I vaguely remember some of the other students resenting me a little because I could ask to play whatever I wanted and it would be granted. They said it was because I was a 'rich girl' ...  I hated the fact that my family was well-off financially, and I would try every tactic in the book to see incredibly ordinary, but nothing ever worked. I was teased about it all the way until I graduated high-school.

My parents later told me that it had nothing to do with money. It had to do with commitment. If I wanted to play clarinet, I should be able to play clarinet, and playing what I wanted to play would inspire me to continue to play even if the going got tough (and boy did it in some lessons). And in the end, I'm glad that they pushed for my siblings and me to play our first choice instruments because I think there is some truth to it. I was very fond of that clarinet and treated it with more love and respect than any band member in junior high.

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