Monday, January 15, 2007

“Clarinet, n. An instrument of torture operated by a person with cotton in his ears." ~ Ambrose Bierce, ‘The Devil’s Dictionary’, 1906

On the way home from her first pep band performance at the Norwich Free Academy girl's basketball game Friday night, Amanda told me that she was considering learning an instrument other than the flute as there are already a lot of flutes in the band and with next year's incoming flock of freshmen, there were bound to be more.

Apparently the flute is a very popular instrument as there are currently between 15 and 25 flutes in the band, which does seem like quite a few. We discussed various other instruments that Amanda might like to try and she mentioned the saxophone and clarinet as two possible choices. I guess it's not too hideously difficult to go from the flute to a reed instrument so it might be more of a natural transition than going to perhaps something in the brass section. I told Amanda we'd have to kick it around and see what our options were. Translated that means - let's see what we can afford!

When I went into work on Saturday I told Jen about the discussion and she said that she had a clarinet at home which she had played in high school that she could bring in for Amanda to try. Along with that she has one kick-ass Gemeinhardt flute that she played when she was in All-New England band that she also generously offered to let Amanda use as it was currently sitting in her mother's closet not doing anything and probably would be there until her daughter, Paige, was old enough to learn to play. For the record, Paige just turned two in August so let's just say that flute would have been in the closet for a very, very long time!

On Sunday Jen brought in both instruments along with a series of music books which I in turn brought home to Amanda yesterday evening. Amanda was absolutely thrilled with both instruments and has been attempting to play the clarinet ever since she took it out of its case last night. She's been playing so much that her bottom lip has gone numb on her and yet she continues to play.

I applaud Amanda's enthusiasm and am proud of her for trying something new while attempting to branch out in her musical abilities but I gotta tell ya - waking up to a squeaky, half-played version of "I Am Iron Man" at 2:00 in the morning is NOT my idea of a good time! I doubt that it would be anybody's idea of a good time! Good thing we live in a single family home and not an apartment close to anyone else!

Today it has been a half-played Kenny G tune and the first part of "My Heart Will Go On" from Titantic interspersed with the occasional scale, pep band number, and errant note that could probably break glass if given half a chance over and over and over again! But I can recognize what it is she's trying to play so I'm sure that counts towards an accomplishment and she's playing these things without benefit of music but by ear - and I think that's pretty cool because it means my kid's got talent!

Until she learns how to play a bit better, I'm just going to have to practice selective hearing and perhaps invest in some earplugs. Hey, Jen, did you have any of those at home??


  1. Mmmmm... yes. I played the clarinet all through junior high and high school. My parents forbid the practicing of the clarinet in the house. *cackle* That was one reason they *didn't* miss me when I went off to college.

  2. Get an IPOD. Wear the headset. Play it LOUD.

    Just a thought...

  3. God, I remember playing the clarinet back in elementary thru middle school. Lost interest in high school. My favorite song to play at that time was the theme from M*A*S*H*. Amanda sounds like she's gonna be a whole heckuva lot better than half the kids I played with - myself included! You go girl! As for you, Linda, I have old hearing aids that don't work. Know what they become when the electronics inside cease to function? Ear plugs!! ;-) Wanna borrow 'em??

  4. Anonymous7:28 PM EST

    I played clarinet in the school band. I never really liked it. I wanted to play drums, but my parents discouraged me because I was a girl. By the way, on a totally different subject, I just read "Ambulance Girl." Have you read it? I liked it.


Thanks for visiting!