ClariNOT

clarinet

This is in response to the Daily Prompt: Strike a Chord

Tell us a story about your experience or relationship with an instrument of your choice.

There are some instruments that I actually play well; however, my failed attempts at playing the clarinet are far more interesting. 

Why I chose the clarinet I will never know. It had something to do with the fact that we were approaching poor, I was a misguided fifth grader, and the only instruments my music teacher would loan to me were a clarinet, a flute, or a symbol. The symbol seemed like a sad joke and my mom was convinced the flute would not survive the abruptness with which I packed my backpack. So, the clarinet it was.

I’ve got to say, the most exciting part of “learning” to play the clarinet for me was putting the stupid thing together. That’s saying a lot, because how interesting could it be to build a silo like structure using round lego blocks? My teacher was obsessed with cleaning the instrument after every lesson, and I quickly realized that this just wasn’t for me. At this point in my life mom was not letting me be a quitter so I’d have to suffer through it for 5 excruciating months.

When I blew into the instrument, no matter what note I was holding down, the same shrill sound deafened the classroom. I wanted to be good, I really truly did, but nothing would give. I’d go blue in the face trying to produce anything that sounded more like an actual note and less like an animal in excruciating pain. I could see the look of pained expressions on my classmate’s faces and I could feel that godawful shrill reverberating down my spine. My teacher kept saying I should practice, but it was quite clear that she meant for me to do this at home.

During this time period we were living in a condominium which meant our neighbors’ apartment was attached to ours. My mom made many a meal for me to bring over to our neighbors as an offering of sorts for putting up with my “practice” sessions. Concerts at school were just horrible. Not only did I have to dress up, but it became quite apparent quite fast that I was the weakest link in the entire wind instrument section. I put the saying “fake it till you make it” to good use, and would place my hands for the notes without actually blowing into the instrument.

When the school year was nearing its end and it came time for me to return my clarinet, I did so with glee. I had musical inclinations, but for whatever reason they all but evaporated when confronted with that clarinet. To save my pride I made up some story in my head about a curse that had been set on the instrument in question, forever tainting the musical prowess of whomever tried to play it.

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