Friday, June 9, 2017

Increasing the Skill Set



I was going to call this post "I did a Thing", but I already have a post with that title.  These days, doing a thing seems to be my mode d'emploi.

I guess that's good.

Most of you don't know it, but I play the clarinet.  It's a long story, but the gist is that my family was poor, I wanted to be in the band, my older sister had two clarinets, and so that's the instrument I ended up playing.

I started in the sixth grade and played through high school, when I stopped.  In retrospect, I wish that I had kept playing - maybe joined the band in college, or better, joined the Army Band when I enlisted.  How cool would THAT have been?!?  Back then, though, I didn't see the value in music, and I didn't even realize that being in the band was something I could do as a soldier.  So, I didn't.

Turns out that playing an instrument is like riding a bike.  There's some degree of muscle memory that never really goes away, and it's just a matter of practicing to remind oneself of what one knows.

Anyway, fast forward a few decades, and my children are taking music lessons.  For the last several years at the music recital, we've participated as the Brown Family Band - playing one group number that we work on as a family.  Last year we performed the classic bluegrass tune, Rocky Top, which Deus Ex Machina arranged in a three-part harmony. 

This year's recital theme is the 80's.  After a few weeks of hashing it out, we finally decided that our family tune was going to be Careless Whisper - both as a tribute to the late George Michaels and because we all just like that song.

But also, because the sax part sounds really awesome on the clarinet.  We decided that I'd dust off my clarinet and give it a whirl. 

Unfortunately, a week before the recital, it happened.  The cork on the bottom piece that connects the bell broke off.

So, we ordered a repair kit.

And I did a thing. 



 
And it works! 
 
So, in a few days, when we have our recital, I'll be whispering, carelessly into my clarinet ....
 
Who says one can't teach an old dog new tricks?
 
Look out world!  I'm still learning.

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