band geeks unite!

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Artemis@BC, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    I may have mentioned before that I play in a community concert band. We rehearse on Wednesday nights, and as I was driving home last night I thought to myself that my band experiences are pretty the same now as they were back in high school: few things in my life give me more pleasure, we all do it because we love it ... and we're all complete geeks.

    The pleasure part is obvious -- making music a an ensemble is highly satisfying on both an intellectual and emotional level. But why is it so geeky? Is it the repertoire? The uniforms? (Though at least on that level our own band gets off very lightly -- esp. when we see what some of the other groups are wearing at the annual community band festival!)

    Is there something inherently uncool about a bassoon or a French horn -- while an electric guitar or drums are "cool"?

    Not that I care all that much of course, or I wouldn't still be doing it after all this time. Just one of those things that makes me think.

    So ... where are all my other band geeks at?
     
  2. NancyNC

    NancyNC Well-Known Member

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    Band geek here! :-D I loved being in the band and for a short time was in a community orchestra as an adult, but time constraints and business travel worked against that. I would like to take it up again someday.

    I play the flute, so of course there are always a number of people who want to hear me relate a "this one time at band camp story". :p
     
  3. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    Another band geek here, though it was many, many years ago. I never really learned to play my clarinet very well due to lack of practice, but I surely did love my band experience.

    I was a teacher for many years, and I think the music, art and drama kids are the coolest!
     
  4. lmarie086

    lmarie086 Well-Known Member

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    Band geek! I played flute for 9 years, 4 of them in a competitive marching band. By the end of that I just needed a break and I'm sad to say I haven't really picked it back up since. I certainly intend to though, and I never was sorry to say I was in marching band. All the band geeks were really close in high school, too. Even on weekends that we didn't have shows, I was always out with the others.

    In my experience, there's only a social stigma toward band in high school; somehow in college people start to think it's more cool. Or that's what I've seen, at least. My current school does not have a marching band (heck, we don't even have a football team! :lol: ) but the college I transferred from two years ago had a huge one, and I didn't like them because they only did pep band stuff, and jazz music. In high school my band did more voidy (I guess you could say haha) pieces by Key Poulan. I don't know if anyone here has heard of him, but a lot of bands in my region had their competitive shows composed by him.

    I actually really want to go to the DCI championships someday; it's been a goal of mine since I graduated high school. Anyone else follow the professional drum corps?
     
  5. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    I'm such a band geek I majored in it :shuffle:

    Finishing up my semester of student teaching at an awesome band program in Michigan tomorrow. We have State Festival tonight, actually, and I'm beyond excited to conduct them there. I'm so proud of this group, and so thankful I was placed here. I'm throwing them a pizza party to say goodbye tomorrow, and to thank them for a great semester and reward their hard work.

    Clarinetist, by the way, though I've added many instruments to that since I first picked it up :)
     
  6. Clarice

    Clarice Active Member

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    I'm a clarinetist, too, and a 2nd generation band geek. My dad was a high school band director, so is my husband, I teach at the college level, and our oldest son is a high school orchestra director. I've never not been in a band, since I was 9 years old.
     
  7. Mozart

    Mozart Well-Known Member

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    I'm a former band geek but still play a lot. I started playing flute in grade 7 band and liked it a lot and played well enough to get a B.Music degree in it ;) I played in band all throughout jr high, high and university. Now I teach elementary music/band and I still perform a lot, mostly in a flute/piano duo and in celtic and gospel "bands". I love, love, love performing. It is my favourite thing in the world to do and mostly play every weekend as I am a church musician as well.

    BTW, yes I went to band camp........
     
  8. woodstock

    woodstock New Member

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    Does playing the flag count? 6 years of twirling, high school and college!
     
  9. nerdycool

    nerdycool Well-Known Member

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    Another clarinetist here! I was always pretty hardcore while in school and was pretty good, although I was self-taught and my parents couldn't afford to get me lessons. The college I chose to go to didn't have a very good band at all, so I kinda lost my passion for it. About 7 years passed of me not even looking at my clarinet, and I learned that the church I was going to be married in had a small band ensemble. So I joined that and it was pretty fun. Then I learned that since the college band was so small, they accepted community members. They have a different director than when I went there, so I gave it a whirl. This is my second year doing it, and it's pretty enjoyable. The band still isn't the greatest, but they're advanced enough that the music we play is actually challenging... not the 7th-8th grade level music I played while I was still in college. I'm not even kidding about that last part. Anyway, I'll likely take at least the first semester off next year because I'll have a new baby, but I'm looking forward to going back for 2nd semester.
     
  10. star_gazer11

    star_gazer11 practising choreo

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    I was in school concert band for about five or six years - stopped because my flute was stolen at school. :mad:

    It was fun while it lasted though - my friends were in band, and we got to practice during school hours as it was a class (poor strings had to come in earlier, I'm not sure why they didn't have equal status when band and choir were classes).

    I enjoyed it so much more than playing piano, probably because of the social/community aspect. I was never motivated in piano, and flute seemed to come easier - I could get by with less individual practice. Flutes get the melody or at least more interesting parts. I don't think I could read music easily anymore though, it's been so long.
     
  11. Flatfoote

    Flatfoote Active Member

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    I hope so, since I was gonna ask if doing rifle in drum corps counted. I marched 6 years in the Blue Knights (Denver) back in the late 60's/early 70's. Oh, and shouldn't that be spinning, not twirling? ;) Back in my day anyway, we made that distinction so as not to get us confused with the baton twirlers. But of course, that was a very long time ago.

    Yup, I've been a drum corps fan ever since I marched myself. Still follow the activity religiously. I've even been to the two DCI Championships that were held here in Denver in the late 70's as well as the one held here in 2004. And, to top it off, my mom and I are in a crowd shot on the DVD from 2004!

    Oh, and I also played viola in jr/sr high school. So does that make me an orchestra geek too? :cool:
     
  12. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    Wow, we're pretty heavy on the high woodwinds here. Not that there's anything wrong with that -- I'm a flautist myself (and sorta tenor sax), but we need some middle & low voices if we want to get a really good balanced sound here.
     
  13. Flatfoote

    Flatfoote Active Member

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    Well, at least Woodstock and I are balanced out in the visual department.
     
  14. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

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    And me! Played clarinet from 5th to 10th grade (two years of that was bass clarinet), and dropped it because I was stuck with a HS band teacher who was CLUELESS about marching band (and this is just playing for football games and parades, not doing competitive field band). I switched to colorguard fulltime (rifle and banner) and stuck with that until I graduated. I was also a majorette/show twirler/competitive baton twirler for 12 years.

    I must say that the way rifles are handled nowadays is disappointing. I grew up watching field band as well as winterguard 30+ years ago, as my oldest brother was in the high school marching/field band from 8th grade until he graduated, and in those days, they actually SPUN the rifles; now, they mostly just wave them around, with some throws now and then. And IMO dancing around with a rifle or sabre in your hands just looks STUPID; you need the military bearing (and uniform) and the precision drillwork for it to look right.

    I was lucky to learn rifle from a woman who was a CG co-captain her senior year (1984) - she taught me how to do a "turnaround catch" (triple revolution throw with a single spin underneath - scared the crap outta me every time I would attempt it). She also used to DRILL us on the basic spins - right and left hand singles, back-and-forth, hand-over-hand... all stuff you don't see done anymore.

    Here's a link I think you'll enjoy perusing - lots of videos and photos: Color Guard Historical Society
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  15. znachki

    znachki Active Member

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    Would a contrabass clarinet do? I switched from regular clarinet to bass in Jr. High, but played the alto and the contrabass as well. Of course, they belonged to the school - not me. It was fun for competitions, because we could put together all kinds of woodwind ensembles.

    I was teaching myself oboe, with an to playing the english horn, when I was a Sr., but braces stopped that.
     
  16. Flatfoote

    Flatfoote Active Member

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    Ahhh. A person after my own heart. I have to say "Old School" guard rocks! Now, we may not have tossed the rifles as high as they do now-a-days. But we sure could spin the heck out of them! It's nice to see someone appreciating the Old School, instead of just telling us old farts to go away, our time is over (an attitude seen quite a lot on Drum Corps Planet).

    Thanks for that link. I'll be adding it to my favorites (under my folder labeled "corps and guard") as soon as I'm done posting this!

    ETA: Well, what do you know. I already had that link in my favorites! LOL. I guess I should peruse it some more.

    ETA Part II: Some interesting trivia on that triple turn around toss. I'm fairly confident in saying that move actually originated in our guard back in the early 70's. Our guard instructor came up with the idea, but didn't have the physcial agility to do it. So he just described his idea to us, and we set about trying to do it. Most of us were scared of the rifle coming down on top of our heads while we were turning around, so we kept throwing it way away from our body. So of course once we turned around, we'd have to run and chase it to try and catch it, LOL. We also weren't successful on figuring out how to turn around quickly enough. Many times, the poor rifle ended up on the ground before we had turned all the way around. Finally, after few close calls of avoiding cracked skulls, our instructor called it off and told us to forget it. Almost all of us were glad to oblige. All except one girl, who was a superstar. She was the kind of person who could not only spin the heck out of her rifle, but toss the heck out of it too. She was tossing 7's and 8's when the elite quards were just tossing quads.

    Anyway, we had an individual competition, in which Lucy (the superstar) and I were entered from our guard. Lucy perfected the triple turn around on her own time, and put it into her individual routine. She won hands down (I got second). At critique, one of the judges, A Mr. Alex Hadad from the Midwest Color Guard Circuit, asked her about that move, and suggested she start teaching it to the other members, as it was so impressive. Next season, several MWCGC guards were doing that move. I can't say I witnessed such, but I am willing to bet that Mr Hadad went back to the Midwest, and told several guard instructors there about this amazing girl in Colorado he had judged, and this cool new move she had done. The timing sure seemed right anyway!

    I can't remember if it was that season, or the next. A girl in the Miller's Blackhawks guard from Ohio tossed her rifle, spun her body three times around and caught it! She had roots in baton twirling too. So I assume that's how she was able to perfect spinning her body around so quickly and perfectly.

    I commend you on learning that move. I have to say that was one move I never learned. By the time it became a "standard" move for guards to learn, I was unfortunatley out of the game of performing. So, I'll admit I liked the shape my skull was in at the time, and decided it was a foolishly dangerous move to learn on my own just for the fun of it. LOL.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  17. Clarice

    Clarice Active Member

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    I could play bass clarinet...
     
  18. Ageless

    Ageless Member

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    Another flautist here. Started when I was in 5th grade and played in concert band and orchestra from junior high through college. Also played in a competitive marching band for four years in high school and show marching band in college. Played piccolo for six of those years in marching band. Really loved the opportunities I had to perform at the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers half time shows and White Sox opening day, among a few other performances.

    I'm another big Drum Corp fan and am very disappointed they don't televise the DCI finals anymore. We have the Cavaliers nearby and the Phantom Regiment isn't too far so I've caught them live a couple of times.

    Last fall I was able to attend a nearby competition where my old high school band was competing (they won their class!). It was amazing to see the changes. Like some of the other posters, I came from the old school with the flags and rifles. Now, each band has a theme, there were many costume and equipment changes, some even had scenery. Every single band has a percussion pit with many instruments were featured that you never would have seem back in my day. There was an electronic violin, several electric guitars, one band even had a sitar. The other thing that was mind blowing was that the director of my old band was someone I had marched with and a couple of other assistants were former band members I recognized!

    Although I haven't played in a long time, I still have my flute and piccolo. Really should pick them up again.
     
  19. jbjanderson

    jbjanderson New Member

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    yet another flautist here. I am also a middle school band/orchestra teacher - guess I just couldn't let go of being a band geek. Its a great job. There is really nothing like playing in band. I hope my students are getting the same love for it!

    funny how here - like in school bands, we just need more low brass!!
     
  20. Chele615

    Chele615 Let's go Anacode!!!

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    I can't believe the amount of posters here who played the bass clarinet!! Most people probably wouldn't even know what it was....

    I'm also a surviving band geek!! I played the trombone in third grade, after being picked by the elementary music teacher to try it out. They were trying to get some interest in certain instruments and she thought I would be a good fit. I hated the buzzing in my lips though so I switched the next year to clarinet.

    I played the clarinet until middle school where I switched to the bass clarinet. I love love love the bass clarinet!! I played that from sixth grade to senior year. I also participated in the high school competitive marching band, where I played the piccolo.

    Marching band was probably the best part of high school. I met the majority of my friends through marching band (some I still see all these years later) and the weekends spent on school buses traveling to numerous states to compete led to many memories that we still laugh about today.

    My school's marching band has definitely dwindled over the years and it's really sad to see it now.
     
  21. wouldacoulda

    wouldacoulda Active Member

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    Yay! Band, orchestra and drum corps geeks!!! I was a band/orchestra/drum corps geek myself. Played keyboard, strings, woodwinds and brass in band and orchestra, and marched in drum corps for many years (finishing my career with the Garfield Cadets in '81 and '82). I was also a flag in the Skylarks back in '80 or '81 (the year of "In the Mood" for anyone who followed WGI in the "old days". Those were some of the best memories I have, and am so glad to have participated in all of it. The music background helps my skating, and nothing beats performing in front of thousands to give you the guts to compete in front of a handful of judges!
     
  22. walei

    walei Well-Known Member

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    Orchestra geek here!! Being in the orchestra was definitely the fondest memory and the highlight of my high school days. I played the violin first chair/concertmaster and ensemble environment is so much more enjoyable to me than playing solo. I love the after school practices and I spent so much time in the music wing of the school my non-music friends joked that I was in a cult and needed an intervention. :lol:

    The biggest highlight was to play full symphony style (band + orchestra) in Orlando Disney World's Magic Music Day and competed in a music festival at Universal Studio Orlando and won first prize! Also in my senior year we went to the UK and played at the Centennial Harrogate Music Festival. The organizer sent us a special thank you letter because apparently we were the only school to feature a full strings ensemble that year.

    I was a relatively shy kid back in high school and music was really an outlet for me to let loose and really a confidence boost during adolescence. Too bad I couldn't have the chance to continue playing after high school even casually due to really demanding curriculum at University but I'd say my music experience really was one of my happier days so far.
     
  23. Flatfoote

    Flatfoote Active Member

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    Wow. Garfield and Skylarks! Both excellent organizations. I'm impressed.

    I did a little research, and it looks like you must have been in '82 Skylarks. While I wasn't able to come up with a video or rep for '82, I did find a video from '81, and they did Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy in the opener, and a patriotic theme throughout. If it helps your memory at all, '82 is also when Cavaliers won with West Side Story. Skylarks were 3rd that year, with Grenadiers in 2nd.

    I thought you might have been part of the first Three-Peat in DCI history. But you just missed it. Garfield won the DCI title from '83 to 85. But you were definitly a part of the beginning of their rise to power within the DCI ranks. 7th in '81 and 3rd in '82. Before your time, they were never higher than 10th. After your time, they racked up 10 Championships, and were rarely below 4th the rest of the time. So you were part of the foundation that set the rest to come! Looks like you just missed out on the George Hopkins era too. My research indicates he took over as director in '84. Don't know if you'd consider that a good thing or not. He's definitly a controversial figure in the drum corps circles. But there's no denying what he's done for the Cadets organization.

    I'd love to hear what other corps you've marched with.

    ETA: crap. I just re-read your post and saw that you said '80 or '81 Skylarks. I guess I was assuming 81 or 82 since those were the years you listed for Garfield too. OK, more research to figure out what Skylarks did in '80. Back later....
     
  24. Flatfoote

    Flatfoote Active Member

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    OK, I'm back...

    First of all, thought you might like to see this photo from a 2010 reunion of the Skylarks.

    http://www.wgi.org/news/10142010-Reuniting-the-Skylarks.html

    Maybe you're in that shot? Or, perhaps there are folks there you recognize. The write up says the '80 show was about Glamour Girls. Does that ring a bell? No mention of what the music was.

    And here's a 1980 pic of Skylarks: http://colorguardhistoricalsociety.ning.com/photo/skylarks-1980-2?context=featured

    Am I getting any closer? :)

    As you may have surmised my now, I'm as much of a geek about researching historical facts in drum corps/winter guard as I am a geek about the activities themselves. LOL. A lot I can rely on memory, but I always research and try to back it up with facts from the 'Net. For instance, when I thought you might be part of the Three-peat. I knew The Cadet's (as they are now called, although they will always be Garfield to me) three-peat was in the early '80's, just wasn't sure when. And I really thought Hoppy had been there almost from the beginning, or at least the beginning of the rise to power. So I was almost sure you must have marched under him. Again, my research proved my memory a bit off. LOL.

    Anyway, I'm sure I could go on forever. I guess I better relax and breathe and let someone else have the floor. :)


    ETA: I finally found a video of 1980 Sklyarks. Unfortunately, you can't play it, you have to pay 5$ to download it. But maybe you'd like to have that for yourself.
    http://wgi.thefannetwork.org/store/digital/search/ensemble/6245/skylarks
    Click on "View Repertoire" under 1980 and it looks like it confirms 1980 was In The Mood. :cool:
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  25. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

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    Well, since we're sharing pics...

    Here's a few of me in both baton twirling and colorguard garb:

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1051955897416.2010529.1181313168&type=3&l=1e6dd844e4


    Here's a shot of the Mont Pleasant HS band (Schenectady, NY) that my brother marched with from 1980 to 1985. This is from the 1984-1985 school year, the last year that our school district had a competitive marching program. He's in the last row, all the way to the left:

    https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=1053643774333&set=o.39742517782&type=3&theater

    Flatfoote - I was impressed by that one girl who could do 3 spins under a throw (would've loved to see that!). I never did 3 spins underneath a throw, only one, but I always had to put at least 3 revolutions into the throw itself to give me enough time. And I can relate to throwing the rifle "away" from me in the process!

    The opener for the MPHS (pic above) for two years (1982, 1983) was "Russian Meadowlands", and the rifle line would do the turnaround toss in a contagion ripple at the very end of the tune. THAT was always cool to see!

    Chele615 - and I used to play the BC with braces on my teeth!
     
  26. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    Considering the stereotypes for the instruments - did you pick the instrument, or did the instrument pick you? - I am unsurprised by the vast number of people who play clarinet here :lol:

    My bands did an excellent job at State Festival on Thursday. Concert Winds got a I, of course, and at their first States the Symphonic Band - the non-auditioned group - got a solid II. Yesterday I threw a pizza party, and then was officially done :( I got some nice presents and words though. I'm really going to miss those kids.
     
  27. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

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    Kinda both. I had heard an old recording of my Aunt Elaine (my father's youngest sister) playing clarinet, back when she was a teenager (this would have been sometime in the early to mid-1960's). I thought it sounded cool, so I took it up in 5th grade, and my lessons were provided by the school district.

    I played in the middle school band, and the high school band, and then quit at the end of 10th grade because my band teacher was an "acknowledged bitch" - seriously, NO ONE liked this woman. I dispised her, because she hadn't one single solitary clue about how to run a marching band program. One example: we used to do a quasi-field show for home football games (we'd stand in one place, play a song, move to a different formation BETWEEN songs, stop and then play another song). We HAD a perfectly good podium for the drum major to stand on, but she had the drum major stand on the fecking PLAYERS' BENCH instead. And speaking of drum major: the one time I tried out for it, it was me and another sophomore, and two seniors. She actually gave extra points to the two seniors JUST because they WERE seniors! Guess who got chosen in the end?

    I can't remember why I picked up the bass clarinet, whether it was something my teacher suggested, or if it was my idea, but I switched back to regular in 9th grade.
     
  28. Flatfoote

    Flatfoote Active Member

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    In the orchestra, viola was kinda chosen for me by the family. We were in an independant band/orchestra group in Denver (Gold Sash Band). Older sis was on violin (concertmistress in fact). And next oldest sis was on cello. Mom had big dreams of the three of us touring around the community doing charity type appearances. Since we had a high voice and low voice represented, that left me to fill in the middle voice with viola.

    I started off in Gold Sash in the beginning group, learning under the Suzuki method. That meant I had to start off on violin. Unfortunatley, we also were involved in drum corps. And while it never clashed with Gold Sash, the director didn't like sharing us. So, one season he actually changed the orchestra's rehearsal night to the same night as the corps' rehearsal night. When we told him of the clash (which he full well knew it did), he said he wasn't about to share us with the corps anymore, and we had to choose one or the other. I think, since we'd been a part of Gold Sash longer than drum corps, he thought we'd drop drum corps. Little did he know that, when backed into a corner like that, we don't take it lying down. We basically told him F-you, and dropped Gold Sash for drum corps.

    I'm glad it worked out that way. I learned much more about music as a part of drum corps, than I did playing viola. I became aware of many of the classics cause of what my favorite corps played. I was never exposed to them in HS orchestra. Go figure! I really cherished my time in corps. I'm very grateful I was exposd to the activity. Of course, I also loved my time in orchestra. As it worked out, I was able to do both, until my Mom put the kibosh on any further participation in drum corps (another long story, sigh).

    After leaving Gold Sash, I took one more year of violin in 4th grade, then switched to viola in 5th. But us sisters never did do the tour thing. LOL. Because of his arrogance, the Gold Sash director lost his concert mistress and first chair cello in one fell swoop. I wasn't as much of a loss since I was just a beginner. In fact, I never did learn to read music fluently, cause we were just starting to learn it in the Suzuki class when we quit. But I could pick up any tune once I heard it a few times. That's how I got through Jr/Sr high in orchestra. I knew enough of reading music to follow along, but I really learned most of our pieces by ear (hearing my orchestra mates play first). Sight reading was never exactly a strong point. But I could get through picking through a new piece if I had to. I suppose you could compare it to a student who can't read, or at least can read well enough to sound out each word slowly as they read each letter.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  29. znachki

    znachki Active Member

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    Someone in my extended family had a clarinet. I really wanted to play the French Horn.

    My older brother played the trombone, and by the time my sister was in band, he was done with it, so she got to play the trombone.
     
  30. nerdycool

    nerdycool Well-Known Member

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    I would say the instrument picked me. The initial introduction to band class was in 5th grade, and I had every intention of playing the flute going into it. But when it came time to put my name down and what instrument I wanted to play, out came "clarinet" and I didn't correct myself. It was meant to be. The orchestra teacher really tried to recruit me, too, because I have long, thin fingers which are apparently perfect for playing the violin. But as we were only allowed one extra music class in elementary school, I went with where my heart was, and that was band.

    I did eventually end up playing clarinet in the middle school and high school orchestras though, so he did get me in the end.