Thursday, October 2, 2008

What does a clarinet player look like?

I know, most mom's would never wish their child was a drummer, but I've been trying to sit on that feeling for the past week. Big Al is in middle school, and I encouraged her to at least TRY band. I think everyone should understand and appreciate music, and my kids are all going to learn to do something - even if its for a year of enforced practice. So why a percussionist? My brother is one (drummer for Marry a thief as well as a great percussion teacher), access to snare stuff, and equipment I will never have to buy (if this is indeed a year of enforced music appreciation) - I actually think Colin has a spare drum set sitting at my aunt and uncle's house my cousins used for awhile. Big Al is excited about the idea - especially if Nickelodeon or Disney ever hurry up and discover her for her own Big Al 101 type show - she wants to be a performer, maybe.

Most importantly, however, my inner Hazel (named after my grandmother, but also involves my Dad's personality) wants her to stick it to her band teacher. There. I said it. And, I meant it.

She is finally through the "ta ta ti ti ta" music theory part of introductory band, and had her big test this past Monday. Last week her teacher started talking to the kids about what kind of instrument they might enjoy playing, and Big Al told him she wanted to be a percussionist. His response? "You don't look like a percussionist, you look like a clarinet player."

Colin came over Tuesday night to give her a last minute drum pad lesson. Wednesday night she had to show up at school and try out all of the mouth pieces and was graded on her ability to play them, or blow them, or .... whatever. She started with the clarinet and scored a 4 out of 5 - oh no I thought, maybe she is a clarinet player. Then the guy gave her a saxophone mouthpiece (so darn similar to a clarinet) and Big Al couldn't make any noise on it. Hmmm, I thought, fishy..... then we headed for percussion. Thankfully, a line was already in there, and she kept listening and practicing what they were supposed to be doing, so when she got up there she played flawlessly. I'm sure she could have if she walked in first, but it was great to see. She ended up with her 5 out of 5. Then I watched her blow other mouth pieces, and I suspect she underplayed a couple of them intentionally to protect her percussion score (strategy, I was told... all about strategy).

Big Al's attitude was definitely in place when she handed her teacher her final audition sheet, and said, "You'll notice the five on percussion." and then spun around to leave. I saw her inner Hazel develop (I'm sure she'll grow up and call it her inner Kelly) and I heard my Dad's memory yelling "rrrreeeeeha." Another generation of independent people now being formed. Don't get in our way.

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