Q & A: Musical Instruments

I often fantasize that one day I will play both the clarinet and the cello. I’m already 35, so I’m not sure that my chances are any good of getting beyond Level 1A of either, but oh, how I really, really wish I could play them.

I learned to play the piano in third grade and I was actually pretty decent, but not what you’d call a born musician. I loved to “escape” to the piano after school, and I progressed rather rapidly due to my excellent teacher. But something happened in 6th grade, namely hormones and shallowness, that suddenly made me embarrassed to be caught playing the piano when friends called. I convinced my mom that I needed to quit for awhile but I would take it up again later. Yeah, right.

I found myself wanting to play again in college and sought out the free piano rooms, but without a teacher or music, I just played the same two memorized pieces over and over. You can only imagine how long that lasted.

We now own a piano (I will have to tell you how that came about in another post) and I will sit down and play when I get the chance. I bought a few beginning adult books and easy classics books and have been working my way through them, but I think I really need a teacher to help me progress beyond the stage I left playing in my youth. I have also found, that, while I like playing the piano, it is the haunting sound of the clarinet (think Mozart, not marching band) and the pensive and moving cello that really stir me.

Some of my friends are real musicians, and from being around them I know that I do not fall into that category. (“O.K. guys, this time around we’ll just change the measure to E minor…Ready?”) It makes me wonder why I still have the desire to learn to play more instruments. It wouldn’t come easy to me. I guess it is just that I want to be a musician. I would love to have my hands create the soulful sounds that cause such a range of emotions in me. I know that I probably need to learn to be content with just listening to my Yo-Yo Ma CD and appreciating music.

Okay, here is my weekly question for you: Is there anyone else out there harboring a secret desire to play an instrument? Those of you that do play an instrument, do you get to play it enough? What is it like to be a real musician? Do you think anyone beyond their 20’s can learn a new instrument? Let me know what you think!

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5 Comments

Filed under Question and Answer, Thoughts

5 responses to “Q & A: Musical Instruments

  1. I think of myself as a musician, tho I play the guitar and banjo (some would immediately discount this because I put “banjo” and “musician” in the same paragraph…) mainly by ear. I can barely read music (my 9 and 14 yr old children read MUCH better than I), altho I have developed the ability to transpose keys and have memorized which key has however many sharps or flats.

    I’m 48. And I continue to learn new techniques on the instruments that I do play.

    But I want to learn the cello. I don’t have a cello. And so I am learning to play my mother’s violin as well as a viola that I have on loan. I am still not learning to read music on either–cheating because I have a fairly decent ear–and so playing new and unfamiliar songs is a tedious trial-and-error exercise.

    My children are very forgiving and so we will often have “family concerts” where my daughter plays the piano, my wife plays the hammered dulcimer, my son plays the bass and I’ll play the violin or viola. We’re actually starting to sound pretty good on Pachelbel’s Canon and a few other things.

    I don’t happen to believe that we “have” or “need to learn to be content with just” anything. If it is our heart’s desire we can continue to do amazing things throughout the good lives with which God has gifted us.

    So:
    my desire to play cello is not secret any more.
    I don’t think I am a “real musician,” however I do hear music in my head all the time
    you CAN learn a new instrument.
    Oh, and I never get to play enough. 😉

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  3. aunt sissies

    i wish i could still play the violin….

  4. Nita

    I don’t really harbor any desire to play an instrument . . . but if I could sing . . . sigh! Just wandering around the house letting notes of pure sound follow . . . just in joy praising the Lord . . . a sweet lullaby for a restless child . . . ahhh now that I can relate to, that I can wish for . . .

    But if you can’t sing you just can’t sing – there aren’t any lessons to improve the sound of a voice it is what it is . . . luckily my children are still young enough and my husband loves me enough that so far no one is protesting!

  5. I’ll never forget when I was singing lullabies one night to my oldest and she very earnestly and non-judgmentally interrupted me and said, “Mommy, you don’t sing very good.” The sweet thing was, she still wanted me to continue singing to her.

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