Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Buzzing and Humming

Hey, if you have a few extra minutes, hop on over to Looky, Daddy! and read his latest post. And be sure to read the comments as well. You'll eat it up, I just know it.


We bought the Not-So-Little One a clarinet this weekend. As you know, I played this instrument for many, many years until I learned that it was a lie when my parents told me I couldn't sing. Anyway, I actually tried to talk her out of taking up the clarinet next year in band. I tried to encourage a more marketable instrument. But she is stubborn. I'm pretty sure she gets that from her father...

I called on my way home last night and heard clarinet sounds in the background. Without any instruction she had assembled the instrument, put the reed on, and proceeded to play it. Now, we're not talking a sonata or anything, but she was moving up and down the lower register in a scale-like manner with minimal squeaking.

I asked her how she knew how to put it together. She said, "I watched you put it together before you bought it." I didn't even know she was watching me. I have to admit I was impressed.

Band doesn't start until next school year. The motivation behind the early purchase has nothing to do with getting her a leg up. It's that our school district has this ridiculous process for "helping" students choose "appropriate" instruments. They invite interested kids to the school one evening, shuffle them from table to table, hand them a mouthpiece, and tell them to blow it. If they can produce a sound, they are allowed to play that one the following year.

Most kids have never touched an instrument before that. And making a mouthpiece buzz is MUCH harder than actually blowing through the entire instrument. Band directors know this, right? I think it is asinine, and I also think it prevents some kids from an opportunity to get involved in music. My opinion.

I was hoping I could teach her to make the clarinet mouthpiece buzz so that she could get to play the instrument of her choice. I think now I'll just have her take the whole darn thing with her and play them a song!


The Little One, hair in a ballet bun, was putting her dance wear in her bag this morning, preparing for her evening lessons. Her tights were shabby - holes and tears up and down the legs, dingy in color. I ask her why she hadn't asked for a new pair. She replied, "People can tell by looking at my tights how serious I am about dance. These show that I work hard." Hmmm... makes sense and saves me money, too.


I read an article about this guy who is going around the country fixing the typos on signs and stuff. Dang it, he stole my idea...


My musical experience has been focused in one genre or another, depending upon what I am involved in at any given time. Sometimes, when you are immersed in learning and performing, the last thing you want at the end of the day is to hear more music. So I am ashamed to admit that some stuff has just passed me by.

Mikel read a review of Raising Sand, the collaboration between Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. I bought it out of curiosity - what an interesting pairing - and I loved it. I realized I knew very little about Krauss, so I bought A Hundred Miles or More. Uh... wow... where have I been? I've been communing with Mozart and Beethoven and Carl Orff and Khachaturian and Paul LaBloche and Mercy Me and Renee Craig and Jim Arns and Joseph Martin, that's where. I have a lot of catching up to do.

Alison Krauss can do anything, apparently. And I think blues has nothing on blue grass in the dark, depressing, and heart-wrenching department. Good Lord!


I pray that you have found that something that moves you. Singing, playing, dancing, praying, cooking, knitting, writing, running, martial arts, whatever. It all counts. You know what it is that makes your cells hum. It doesn't matter if no one else likes it. Find it. Do it. Give a little of yourself over to it. Heck, give all of yourself over to it if it feels right.

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