These days, I’m spending a significant amount of time playing with toy musical instruments, thanks to my young daughters. Xylophone, tambourine, maracas, drums, you name it. It has me reliving my musical moments of my childhood — many of which have laughable incidents.
My musical journey begins with the piano, and I’m still surprised I begged to play it. This was my standing weekly appointment when I snuck chocolate chips while my mom and sister went for their lessons. However, a littler sister I am. I wanted to be like my older sister and tickle the ivories with grace. At first, I started off passionate, practicing often and showing up prepared. Safe to say, our sweet piano teacher should have been charging us more. She eventually would have to help me complete my assigned homework, filling in treble clefs, or whatever I was attempting to master at the time. I can however, still play a mean “Heart and Soul.”
Next up: the recorder. The first instrument all elementary school students have no business playing. We all thought we were such musical geniuses playing this woodwind. On the contrary. What’s the opposite of music? Noise. Yes, I can only attest to raise your eyebrows kind of noise when playing this instrument.
Again, I had to be like my sister and play the violin. Most kids began in third grade. However, I started in fifth grade. Already a tall kid, I towered over the kids two years younger than me. Forced to use my sister’s hand-me-down violin, it was not only too big for me, it overpowered the high-pitched sounds of my peers. I felt like Buddy the elf “singing loud for all to hear” at a baritone boom level.
My parent’s 1998 Christmas card described my playing another way: “Lauren began playing the violin this year. Any parent who has had a beginner knows this isn’t a pleasant auditory experience! I can’t think of another instrument, other than the drums, where the parent begs the child to stop practicing!”
With the help of another great music teacher and many private lessons and yes, lots of practicing (sorry mom and dad), I went on to make first chair the next year. This meant I had to play harder music, and I was way out of my league. However, a rare shining moment to be one of the only sixth graders to make first chair in orchestra.
Soon enough, the novelty wore off, and I quit the violin before the start of seventh grade. Now my musical efforts are limited to bedtime routine and singing for my daughters. All is right with the world.