My music career

or how I survived high school…

In 3rd or 4th grade I played the tonette with the rest of my classmates.  Now sitting in its faded yellow canvas case deep in a drawer.  Piano was my first instrument.  Three matronly women made up my instructors in the fine art of  piano.  Yearly recitals often reminded me that becoming a concert pianist wasn’t in the cards.

In 5th grade it was time to choose the instrument of choice.  The instrument salesman sat with you and your parents to pick what might be the right one.  I had already decided that the clarinet was not for me.  My dad had played the flute but learning that you could become dizzy from blowing into the flute turned me away.  The oboe, an instrument of challenge, that’s my instrument.  Double reeds, frequently off key, and definitely hard to blow were my route to concert band.  Our terrier would howl right along with me while I practiced.  Mother hired a very patient man to come to the house to give me private lessons on the oboe.  It must have worked, we all survived.

The oboe doesn’t lend itself to marching band.  So in junior high I got to be the drum major when we marched in a local parade.  The high school drum major showed me how to use my baton while marching out front.  He was my sister’s age, 4 years older, and very kind to this little eighth grader.

Come freshman year the band director had me play the bells while marching.  My goodness those things are heavy to carry throughout a parade.  So I picked up the alto saxophone to march with, much better.  Now those formations on the football field and the long parade routes didn’t make my shoulders ache.

Jazz band was an option if I learned how to play the tenor saxophone.  So now my social life included football games, pep band, jazz band playing for the Christmas dance and the school plays.  It was wonderful.

The summers were filled with community band.  All age groups coming together to play for the townsfolk while they ate at the ice cream socials.  We played on the courthouse bandstand every Friday night.  Marshall has had this bandstand now for 85 years.  My dad and uncle played in the community band when they were in high school.  Living in a small town has its perks.  Opportunities abound!

Now, my oboe sits in its case deep in the closet.  Someday it will sing again…

“When I Fly” blogger 2013

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