Sunday, March 17, 2013

Me and My Clarinet: A History

What I get to stare at daily :-)

So I know that my blog has been dominated by pregnancy updates and photos (which I know you guys love to see over and over and over again haha) but my pregnancy, as important and life changing as it is, isn't the only thing that is going on in my life right now.   :-)

I started "playing" the clarinet in 1996. I remember clearly a group of older guys coming to my 5th grade elementary school cafeteria with all of the major wind instruments in tow. One by one they introduced themselves and played each instrument so we could hear what they sounded like. I was so impressed (as most kids are I expect) by all of the shiny brass and many keys and nobs of all the instruments. 

To be honest I don't remember the clarinet guys name; but I will never forget how mesmerized I was when I herd him play...

I had never herd something so amazing in my life. No other instrument in my opinion sounded anywhere near as wonderful and couldn't play nearly as many notes (a fact that my 10 year old mind was very impressed by). Now that I am an adult I understand that maybe this might have been because the musician in question was more talented and able to play more challenging passages on the fly but when I was sitting indian style listening to him I knew immediately that that was the instrument I was destined to play. So I went home and very seriously announced to my parents that I needed them to sign the form so we could rent me a clarinet and I could be in the band!

When I finally got my instrument after it was delivered to the school I was so anxious to get it together and start playing. My band teacher showed me how to put it together and how I needed to wet the reed (a brand new base ricco size 2!) I put the mouthpiece in my mouth and....


I was so confused, why didn't I sound like that other guy? Was it broken? What was I doing wrong? My band director assured me that I would learn in time and when I herd every other kid with a clarinet making the same noise I felt somewhat reassured. 

Enter in hours and hours of screeching, duck calls and slowly (SLOWLY) learning hot cross buns. My parents remember with joy my first 5th grade band concert. During this a group of about 30 ten year olds emitted the most vile and ear piercing sounds; and was always met with thunderous applause. I surely hope I have the honor of doing so at my own children's first concerts (if they choose to learn an instrument please please please)

But I digress...

Fast forward to present day. I finally started to learn how to play (note the lack of quotes here) and faithfully stayed in the band all through middle school and high school. During my teenage years I also played in a local college community band and moonlighted several times with Navy Band Northeast. I actually considered going to music school my sophomore and junior year but has history tells us that was not my destiny.

I actually took a break from my clarinet for about 4 years starting my senior year in nursing school through my third year as a RN. I was starting my career, I moved across the country, got married and my instrument started collecting dust at the back of my closet. I remember just like it was yesterday when I cleaned out my closet in mid August 2011 I found it and dug it out of the old gig bag I stored it in. It has about an inch of dust on the case and I suddenly felt overwhelmingly sad. How did I get to a place where I hadn't even picked up my clarinet in years!? Unacceptable.

I vowed then and there to start practicing again. I brought in my horn to get overhauled, got myself into a community band and found myself a private teacher (anyone who knows me knows that when I choose to do something I do it 100%) I have now been playing consistently since then and when we moved the first thing I did was find a new clarinet teacher and an ensemble to play with.

I now sound better that I ever have and I have never been happier!

So now when I post about the things I'm working on you'll have a little history on how I got to be here..

Stay musical!!

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