Saturday, 25 May 2013
Mr. Music Please!
I grew up in the age of the record player and finicky needles with pennies taped on to them to get the weight just right. I spent my weekends at Sam the Music Man, rifling through albums and 45's - coming home with a prized purchase and escaping to my room to play my favourites over and over again. When I was in grade four, our class was given the equivalent of a musical aptitude test - to determine, one supposes, who was tone deaf and who might display a modicum of talent to land in the school band. I knew I had an advantage as I'd already suffered through several years of piano lessons so I wasn't a complete novice. The result was exactly what I long suspected - I was some kind of musical genius, according to the teacher - some muse of the metronome, able to keep basic time and recognize a tune when I heard it. Understandably I was over-joyed that finally my talents were being recognized. Until I learned that my prize was being assigned the French Horn. That bulky, impossible swirl of metal that involved all kinds of complexities of hand placement and breath - that with the right master can sound like the angels from heaven and in my clumsy paws sounded like a car accident. While all the other girls seemed to be given the more feminine clarinet or flute...with a few trumpets thrown in for good measure, for some mystifying reason - I was rewarded with this monstrosity - that could not possibly be shoved in my locker on the weekend - but would have to be lugged in one mittened hand, with the other arm burdened by binders of homework - across the snowy field to my house. I loathed it to such a degree that I would do anything to "forget" it in the band room, thus leaving my weekend free to ignore it without the arm strain I normally experienced. In the end, reminiscent of a long history of quitting things I didn't care for including my one-day experiment as a Brownie, I let it go. I tried to move on to the flute momentarily, but it gave me a headache and that was the end of my illusions of a life on the stage - the death of yet another less than gifted musician.