Archive for May 24th, 2010


Musical Children

   Posted by: Michael Bernier   in Today's Reality

Our local middle school bands held their Spring Concert this evening. It was a great show, filled with wonderful music and performances by a lot of really talented kids.

I was blessed to be given three musically gifted children. All of them have played in the school bands – my daughter on the clarinet, my older son on the trumpet, and my younger son on the saxophone. They have all done very well; the two older ones stepped into positions as section leaders in the high school marching band, while the youngest is first chair in the middle school’s top band, the Wind Ensemble (if you or your child have been in band, you’ll understand everything I just said; if not, all you have to really understand is that it’s all good news). My wife and I have received many glowing reports from the band directors over the years, and each of our kids has shown improved skills with each passing year (my daughter even started playing in her college band, but dropped out due to her class workload).

Where did all this musical talent come from? It certainly wasn’t from me; I can’t play any instrument more complicated than a triangle, and it’s highly likely I wouldn’t even get that right. I’m sure it all came from my wife; she played the clarinet in her school band. In fact, she still had her old clarinets when our daughter went into band; so, getting her started was pretty much a no-brainer…we took one of the horns down to the local music shop for a quick checkup, and she was all set. It was a little more difficult to get the boys started on their instruments; we got the trumpet on the rent-to-buy plan, and found a used saxophone in a local pawn shop (as it turned out, the salesman happened to have played in the same school band, and he helped with picking out the right one for my son to use).

Not a day seems to go by in my house without some sort of music playing, whether it’s selections from an online band music library, to someone practicing their music pieces, to listening to music and trying to pick out the instruments used. Sometimes my older son will play the same piece of music over and over again for seemingly hours at a time, to the point when it becomes obnoxious to my ears. But, I let him continue; that’s his way of learning right now – simple repetition – and I’m sure it will change as he grows older.

Will any of them continue to play after they leave school? That’s a tough question to answer. When my daughter left school earlier this year, her clarinet was among the things she sent home. Both of the boys are very enthusiastic about playing, so it’s possible one or both of them may continue. I hope they will consider it, if for nothing more than their own personal benefit, like having a hobby. Perhaps in doing so they can bring out more of their creative abilities, which is something I am just now re-learning how to do with the help of several friends in our writer’s group (follow the “Shared Words” link on this blog to visit our group and read some of our writings).

One thing is certain: my house will be a lot quieter once my children have all moved on. I might have to get out my triangle and start practicing again…