PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I COULD'VE Led The Big Parade.....

I was never in band. The closest I ever came to playing a musical instrument includes the following items, which will slam the door shut on any supposition you might have had that I did, in fact, play in the band: Flutophone (a.k.a, the Recorder), an Autoharp (jammin!), a Harmonica, and a Fisher Price keyboard with pastel keys.

I can't read music, except for singing, sort of. I was in chorus, and what I lack in a beautiful voice is more than compensated for with my gusto and volume. I do quite well if the tenor section needs help, I'm definitely an alto....

I do recall composing a sad, dirge-like ditty about (bad timing, but sorry, it's true) miners on my Fisher Price keyboard, and performing this song for the entire fourth grade music class. I did not realize at the time that in performing my self-perceived talented & brilliant composure with its sad, sad, SAD words about how lonely it is in the mine, I had just exploded my final chances of EVER fitting in with my classmates. At least it wasn't on the autoharp.

So, I really liked, nay, LOVED, the flutophone. I adored when they arrived and Flutophone Music was all we did in music class. I can still smell and taste the blue liquid all the mouthpieces floated in, and the challenge was to get a good white flutophone with red trim. The black ones were simply not as glamorous. My father, perhaps hoping he was raising the next Zamfir and her Magic Pan Flute, noticed this enthusiasm, and bought me a wooden recorder. I would practice my warbling notes in the loft of the dome home. In between BONG HITS. (OK, just kidding, but seriously, I look back on the hilarity of all this, and the fact it was the 70's and I wore a lot of corduroy, come ON, it wasn't just ME, man....other people loved the flutophone, too! Right?)

Then came 5th grade. And the Musical Instrument Aptitude Test. We were given all these different mouthpieces to blow on and try - not connected to the rest of the instrument, and under the supervision of the music teacher, who then wrote down on a notecard what your destiny would be. I brought my little card home from school, and my father blanched. For I was most adept on the mouthpiece of? THE TROMBONE. My father called the music teacher. Was there anything else, anything AT ALL I would do well at. The flute? No. The clarinet? No. The violin? Nobody here knows how to play that, Mister, we can't teach it. I still can hear him saying, beseeching the teacher for a different solution: "Look. It's not like you can really go out on the hillside and play the trombone all by yourself! Isn't there SOMETHING else she could play?" I immediately visualized myself barefoot, in a field of clover, tooting and honking away on a giant trombone. Did you remember that I have short arms? (Not short arm syndrome, that's different.) Clover & trombones, all in all, it was not a pretty visualization. I knew when that line was uttered, I was not going in to band.

So my musical education stayed confined to chorus, all through high school, and some of our concerts and songs are still completely ingrained in my head. The solo at the 4th of July concert that required a brassy alto, to ham it up while singing - gee, guess who was picked for that spotlight? I was a shoo-in. I have always danced along in life to a different drummer - and I guess now you know it's a drummer who also can play a mean flutophone.

posted by PlazaJen, 6:47 AM