Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Orchestra Pit and Obscenely Tight Pants

My dad loves the symphony, opera and ballet and pretty much hates any other performance art. He tried desperately to pass on his good taste and enlightenment to his offspring.

Just an interjection; when, if ever, are the obscenely tight pants on the male members of the ballet company in good taste?

By the time I was six I knew all of the common symphony instruments, how, in theory, to lead music and that the metronome was not a toy! I was all geared up to shoot to the top of the popularity ladder.

My dad bought a series of children’s books about the lives the great composers and put in hours reading them to us. But even in simplistic terms, the lives of dead white guys who wrote fancy pants music was incredibly boring. As a tween would you pick Beethoven or Van Halen?
They do have a similar hair thing going and David Lee Roth has definitely spent some time in obscenely tight pants.
He also insisted that each of take music lessons. I ended up with the flute. Really? The flute? Now the oboe, that’s an instrument I could have gotten into!

The rest of the kids were assigned piano, violin, cello and harp. (Yep, in addition to a baby grand piano in our living room, we had a three quarter sized harp, and a full sized gong, but I digress.)

I have a hard time filtering out background noise so hearing results of the violin with cello practice made me absolutely nuts.

But, being the lucky one, I was the only sibling who could participate in marching band and participate I did!

So, after years of lessons, want to guess how many of us can play an instrument today? No one, nada, zip. For my money, we should have taken something useful like auto shop or cage fighting. (Even musical auto shop would have been an improvement.)

The other torture in the house-of-noise consisted of the small plastic recorders that they pass out in elementary school. Those of you with experience are nodding your heads. I solved that problem by hiding the mouthpieces in various plant pots.

Whenever I complained that I didn’t want to play the flute, my dad would say, “Then pick a different instrument.” “The drums?” “No. Pick something else.” Too bad I didn’t think of bagpipes or the zither. So a few years ago, a friend of a friend was getting rid of a set of drums. I can’t do much more than a 4/4 beat but it sounds better than those horrible plastic recorders.

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