Da Musically Inclined Bomb

DePauw University's First Year Seminar on Writing about Music

Saturday, September 16, 2006

My Musical Life - Revised

Have you ever heared something so beautiful you were encouraged to recreate that sound? That happens to me all the time and I think it's the basis of my success as playing trumpet. When I was at the end of fourth grade I heard a beautiful saxophone sound echoing throughout the local mall. It was the first time I had ever heard a professional instrumentalist, with interest on my part. Kenny G was my first inspiration to make music.

Later that week, I went through "instrument tryouts" for our 5th grade band. I knew as soon as I got there I was going to be bringing home the instrument that would lead me to Kenny G's success! But I was wrong! Turns out, I couldn't even get a noise out of the saxophone. That's when I decided to test out the trumpet.

Mills Lawn was a very small school elementary school. It was your decision to play in either the orchestra or band. But, either way, you were guaranteed to be the only one in your grade on your instrument. Competition between instruments took place on a grade level. As a fifth grader, I couldn't wait to play with the 6th graders and show off my talent. My brother was a 6th grade trombonist and he kept me "updated" with the latest repitore. I remember practicing "Go Tell Aunt Rhodie" several hundred times with my brother in the freezing cold garage before a 6th grade rehersal. At Mills Lawn, you were pushed to learn your part inside out and always play at your personal best.

A move in the family eventually caused for transferring schools. Indian Valley Middle School was a drastic change for me. There were 4 different 5th grade bands! Each with 10 or more playing trumpet. But, because of such advanced playing at Mills Lawn I was still able to outplay them all! I'm almost certain I didn't improve much as a musician at Indian Valley because I never had any one to compete with, or any beautiful sounds to imitate.

Throughout my 3.5 years there, students expierenced three different changes in directors. Many students dropped out because the couldnt rely on the stablilty of the music department or because they just weren't inspired. My parents were the only reason I myself, made it to high school band.

Wow! My first day of band camp I was so impressed! I arrived and chairs had been marked off as a result of the auditions earlier that week. I walked along the back looking for my chair. It wasn't anywhere around my freshman friends! I must have looked confused because my band director approached me and took me to my chair. I was sitting 2nd chair next to the junior section leader! I remember his words exactly as I sat next to him, "So you're the girl who sits here? We'll don't get your hopes up.... your first chance at section leader won't be until your senior year when all of the upperclassmen have filtered out!" Typical statement of a trumpet player. It didn't bring me down though, I had work to do... there was someone better than me. I had a challenge!

I worked very hard that year and it paid off. The audition results were posted at the beginning of the next year. I had outdone every trumpet player in every ensemble in high school. It seemed great... until I realized I no longer had challenge. For the rest of high school, I did the minimal work to keep my spot as a section leader.

Over my 8 years of playing, I don't feel as if I got the musical expierence every child deserves to have. My fellow students and I had five different band directors. I witnessed many students dropping music because of poor instruction and lack of dedication. It is now my desire to improve instruction in districts where music is a crumbling subject. The arts are an important part of elementary, middle and high school curriculum. Students at least a teacher who cares!

My old post is here!


At 9/17/2006 2:44 PM, Blogger iheart-t-ravs said...

I'm sorry you felt like you had no competition...it can get really boring after a while. But I'm glad it has motivated you to become a teacher!

At 9/17/2006 3:11 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

This is going to sound mean, but I love it the feeling of passing up upperclassmen, especially those who look down on underclassmen. This was a good revision of your first post.
I have an awesome recording of Kenny G playing along with Louis Armstrong on "What a Wonderful World". I will play it for you sometime.

At 9/17/2006 3:35 PM, Blogger Nat said...

Wow. Your first elementary school sounds awesome. I can't imagine playing my instrument completely by myself. I tended to use my ear to mimick people around me rather than learn the music in the beginning. The fact that you could stand on your own when you first started is great, since there are some musicians who cant' even do that now.

At 9/17/2006 3:41 PM, Blogger Emily Rose said...

It's cool that your school did not put seniority first, like mine...no grudges held. Also, I like waht you've added and edited. Try to keep your voice the same throughout the whole piece though!

At 9/17/2006 4:44 PM, Blogger Becca said...

I can hear you reading or saying this. =) You have a nice style. Congrats on your successes in high school, even amid awful circumstances. I liked your final paragraph... isn't the last sentence missing a word or two?

At 9/17/2006 7:49 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

I liked the way you enjoyed the music but stated that you didn't have the music experience every one deserves.

At 9/17/2006 9:01 PM, Blogger Kitt_Katt said...

Dude, playing bagpipes tonight rocked! But yea,I think that maybe because you had so many teachers it was a good thing, you could take something away from each of them......

At 9/17/2006 11:34 PM, Blogger Godfather Outlaw said...

Kenny G is the man!!! Very cool story.

At 9/17/2006 11:35 PM, Blogger Vera Lynn Waters said...

i can't believe you're where you're at without competition. i'll tell you that without the competition i had with this crazy short blond chick in high school, i would be no where near where i'm at today. be proud, that's quite amazing.


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