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Hey Babe, What’s Your Instrument?

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

OK, not the coolest pick-up line. But one I heard many-a-time at band camp.

Only we didn’t call it band camp back then. It was music camp. And my instrument was voice — which never failed to bring on the jokes and innuendos.


I rather envied them — the bandos. They were a close-knit bunch. With cool jackets. Funny stories. Inside jokes. While we, the vocalists, were more concerned with downing as much hot liquid as possible so as to protect our fragile and susceptible instruments. And that was just during the summer at music camp. Marching Band got the bandos a pass out of P.E. and … matching jackets.

I loved choir. And I loved being at music camp. But it was an “us” vs. “them” mentality. And they sure looked like they were having a whole lot more fun.

So how thrilled was I when Poppyseed came home after the “instrumental music assembly” at school.

Poppyseed: “We get to play whatever instrument we want. I just have to decide.”
FrumeSarah: “Which one seems interesting to you?”
Poppyseed: “Well!” I’ve narrowed it down.”
FS: “Great…”
PS: “…to five instruments.”

Five? FIVE? Five instruments?

So which were the chosen five??

  • clarinet
  • violin
  • flute
  • cello
  • French Horn

Each one wonderful. With its own reasons to be selected as “The One.”
And…each one with reasons to be cut from the list.

We had to help her narrow down her list. But how?? We could have turned her loose in an instrument store and let her wander the aisles until “The One” spoke to her. But that’s just not us. Even the thought of that would have had us in hysterics. No, this called for a more pragmatic approach. Using a very, VERY modified Ben Franklin approach, we were able to eliminate all but one instrument.

Cello? Amazing sound. However, too big. Would require me to drive Poppyseed to school on instrumental music days.
Clarinet? Mellow tones. But the least favourite of Poppyseed’s choices.
French Horn? Cool looking. But large and clumsy for a little thing like our Poppyseed.
Violin? Classic instrument. Unfortunately, listening to a beginner on the violin will be excruciating. Sounds akin to cats in heat.
Flute? Too boring? Perhaps. Very portable.

And that is how Poppyseed selected a flute as her instrument of choice. We’ll see how it goes…

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Wednesday, 23 May 2012 4:27 pm

    A flute is a good choice. Bekki’s first choice was the tuba, but it wouldn’t even fit in my car. She started with a flute. Then on to the viola because a wonderful orchestra teacher needed a violist and he was willing to show up at middle school at 6:30 a.m. for her semi-private lesson. And then she took up the trombone in high school because the viola is just not a marching band instrument. The Bandos did have a lot of fun at FVHS!
    I love that your kid will try anything.
    (By the way, do you know the difference between a violin and a viola? The viola burns longer!)

  2. Stephen Einstein permalink
    Wednesday, 23 May 2012 4:52 pm

    I loved this post. First of all, you picked the right college band to feature. Secondly, I’ve used the pro/con approach to decision making, and was pleased to learn that wise old Ben Franklin had important suggestions on how to refine it. Thirdly, I liked the ad for “The Art of Manliness.” The product would have been improved slightly if it actually included some fine cigars. Finally, I’m pleased that Poppyseed will try the flute. I still have fond memories of the accompaniment to services at HUC in Jerusalem (back in the late 60s) which featured flute and cello. Those two instruments together seemed particularly suited for Jewish liturgical music.

  3. Wednesday, 23 May 2012 7:58 pm

    I hope she has as good an experience as I had with the flute. Like you, I’m sure, music memories from elementary (I started in 5th grade) jr and sr high school are still with me. In fact, in high school, they (Los Al, the might Griffins!) allowed us to play piccolo in marching band and while that is too many years to count (well, I could, but I don’t want to lol), I am sure I could still play the piccolo line from Stars and Stripes Forever. You just don’t forget that!

    One thing for sure, wind instruments are good for the lungs. She’ll be healthy!

  4. Wednesday, 23 May 2012 9:14 pm

    Nice. My experience choosing an instrument was even less emotional. I wanted to be a percussionist, and passed the rhythm test, but was told that too many people wanted to be in percussion, so I should move on. I went to try the flute, but couldn’t produce a sound. I went to try the saxophone, but couldn’t locate the room (seems strange now that I look back at it). So I settled for the clarinet. And excelled. I ended up majoring in clarinet performance at university, and still get paying gigs from time to time. Go figure!

    May Poppyseed have a wonderful experience with her foray into instrumental music! I hope it brings much joy to everyone (and beginning flute isn’t that painful to listen to – lucky you!).

  5. Wednesday, 23 May 2012 9:46 pm

    This cracks me up. This was my son’s first year of instruments. He came home at the beginning of the year and declared he’d be playing the viola. He was quite determined, but couldn’t give me a reason for the viola. He “just liked the way it sounded.” Oddly enough, a third of his class decided on the viola.

    So why the viola? Apparently they had people come in and play the instruments to demonstrate what they sounded like. And the person on the viola very wisely played the theme to “Star Wars.” And a viola player (actually a lot of them) was born. The power of marketing! :-)

  6. Wednesday, 23 May 2012 10:06 pm

    So funny! My older grandson chose violin because it was the featured instrument in the “Star Wars” arrangement for their first concert. He played for 7 years and became 2nd violin. I wish Poppyseed the pleasure of achieving success.

  7. Brianna Soloski permalink
    Friday, 25 May 2012 7:45 pm

    Good luck to her!

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