Rock me, Amadeus


August 28th, 2008

There are a few kids in the neighborhood, and I have noticed something missing as they walk back and forth from the bus stop.  When I was in school (not all that long ago), there were always a couple kids, including myself, toting a hardsided black or a leatherette case with them.    Yeah, I was one of those kids who got out of half of gym class because I was in ochestra. The next year, I switched to band.  I didn’t get to cut class, because lots of kids were in band.   My decision was mostly made by the conductor of the orchestra who told me that I stunk, but said it far more politely. Her loss, as I was second chair trumpet/cornet in the band after a few months.

The school district was not particularly wealthy, nor were my parents.   I got my trumpet by trading in my cousin’s old, beaten viola that she decided I could use as a downpayment.   Even beaten up, it had a higher value so the trumpet wasn’t that much on a monthly payment plan.    Some kids rented their instruments from the school, or borrowed.

It just seems to me that fewer and fewer schools around here are making at least trying out an instrument a rite of passage.  Studies have shown that kids who are introduced to sheet music, and syncopation have a better time grasping math, not to mention the social skills developed from collaborating.

I hope parents consider choosing music, even if they do it in their own home. There are groups like the Amadeus Home Music School that have a stable of good teachers that will teach your child one on one at their pace. Piano, drums, mandolin….most instruments that you can think of are represented.

We may have long graduated from band class, but my cousins and I still get together once in a blue moon and jam. One of my cousins is very serious and precise about what we play, but mostly we just goof around and have a lot of laughs and fun memories with our motley assortment of drums, guitars (3 people want to play lead!), a trumpet, and a casio keyboard. I am so glad we learned.

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