Music, Music, Music

Gainesville teen no ordinary drummer plays in his high school marching band and wants to pursue a career in music therapy. Drums make a great instrument for the deaf since we can feel its vibrations. But that ain’t what I played as a kid.
I took piano lessons in third grade from Mrs. Guinn. She had a big Chocolate Labrador retriever who greeted me along with a unique smell that no other place had. It was neither good nor bad. If I had my eyes closed, I would know I was in her home.
Though I liked my teacher, I sucked at piano. But it was partially my fault because I didn’t practice. Though I refused to let my deafness keep me from trying anything, I guess that was the other part of why I wasn’t a natural. (I know… I know… Beethoven…) Blaming deafness was the last thing I wanted to do. As I grew older and more realistic, I had to admit it was a barrier to many things in life.
If I had a passion for music and worked hard at it, then it wouldn’t be a barrier. But neither applied. I played in a recital and remembered how to play the song for many, many years after, Yankee Doodle Dandy.
My experience with piano didn’t prevent me from trying something else. In 6th grade, you had a choice of band, orchestra, and choir. I had no chance of singing in tune and stringed instruments weren’t my thing, so I chose band and the clarinet. When a student was in the honors program, she got placed in honors everything. That’s where I got placed. It wasn’t a good idea, although it kept me with my friends.
Despite learning the songs, I often played along without blowing (air clarinet, you might say) because I would lose my place in conjunction with the rest of the band. Not wanting to embarrass myself, my fingers followed the notes on the sheet music and my lips squeezed onto the mouthpiece, but no air pushed the reed to play a tune.
After a few months of playing with the crew and retaining my distinction of being last chair every time, I finally requested to move to a different class. Thankfully, I retained the same teacher, Mr. Matney. Despite the lack of interest in music, I was lucky to land music teachers I liked.
Whoa! This class was small! Only three of us played clarinet, if I remember right. One girl’s dad was the band director in one of the city’s high schools. He happened to be my clarinet tutor. Like Mrs. Guinn and Mr. Matney, I liked Mr. Watson. Because I enjoyed lessons with him, I had some appreciation of band and decent memories.
Unlike the piano, I practiced some of the time. Probably not enough, but better than nothing. Band had its ups and downs. I should’ve quit while I was ahead and not played in 7th grade as it almost ruined band for me.
For unknown reasons, I worked extra hard to learn a short song. When it came to play musical chairs, I played every note on cue. When I finished, the class of pimply, self-absorbed 12-year-olds applauded. It may not be a big deal for many, but I’ll never forget the day I earned first chair.

1 comment

  1. From a hard of hearing guy who plays the piano..

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