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what musical instrument are you?

May 20, 2009

In a few weeks, my oldest son will be assigned an instrument to play in school when he starts band next year as a fifth grader. (Do I really have a fifth grader? Would someone please check how old I am? No, never mind. Don’t tell me.) Anyway, I’m pretty stressed out about it.

The director is visiting classrooms and introducing the kids to all the instruments in the band. They will have a handful of opportunities to consider what they’d like to play. Each time, they write down their top three choices. The director will assemble his band based on what interests the kids, but each kid isn’t guaranteed his/her top choice.

I don’t begrudge the process from the band director’s point of view. We live in a small town. There aren’t even 90 kids in the fifth grade. If all of them want to play oboe and are allowed to do so, there won’t be a band. And I understand that learning to play an instrument as part of an ensemble has incredible value even if you don’t “get your way.”

However, as someone who knows what instrument she is, I would have a problem if someone told me to be something different. Regular blog readers probably know I am the French horn. I failed miserably at being the flute, which is what my mother wanted me to be.

Ironic, then, how much my husband (the trumpet) and I are projecting onto our son what instruments he should choose! We have told him that he can be, I mean play, any instrument he wants — just as long as it’s not woodwind. He can be brass. He can be percussion. But he can’t be woodwind.

Except what if he is?! Could we love him anyway? 🙂

Our own opinions aside, it seems like such a big decision to have to make when you’re nine. What’s next, college applications?

What musical instrument are you?

  1. May 20, 2009 9:44 pm

    I love this beyond my ability to express. My son was a woodwind (clarinet) until he rejected it. I think it came down to the fact that he couldn’t talk and play at the same time, and he was too social to be silenced in that way. He is now happily a piano and a bass, for like his mother, he has split identities (but not in the clinical sense.)

    As for me, once upon a time I was a piano, and then I became a guitar, and now I am ears.

  2. May 21, 2009 11:46 am

    I was a piano, recorder (wish I still had it) and guitar. I wanted to be bongo drums. The tip money I saved one summer was supposed to go to a percussion set but I ended up spending it on drugs. I didn’t understand the new math of what a “dime bag” really meant.

    I realize this is a crazy story that I must write about. There is more strangeness in it that needs to be put on pper. Thanks for the musing of me.

    (Tell us what he “winds” up with.)


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