My daughter is excited about learning to play an instrument. She’s known how important music is to me ever since she was old enough to sit on my lap at my drumset and hit the cymbals. She’s seen me perform and I’ve even let her accompany me on occasion when I was playing a low-key gig. It’s not a big surprise that she is interested in music and I’m glad that she’ll have the opportunity to learn to play an instrument.
Music classes are not a given in our current environment with Portland Public Schools. When I was growing up fourth grade was the first year that some sort of musical adventure presented itself. In my case I didn’t start playing until I was in the sixth grade and my first instrument was the clarinet, not the drums. If Harrison Ford had heard our rendition of Raiders of the Lost Ark back in the day he probably would have clutched his ears screaming and then melted like one of the evil Nazis from the movie itself. But tonality, intonation, musicality are not to be expected with beginning band. And the important thing is that we had that opportunity.
At Beverly Cleary the students are fortunate to have enough dedicated parents and participation in Run for the Arts to offer band class to students. Soon the halls will be filled with squeaking and squawking, like some contingent of birds landed amidst the band classroom and all wanted to speak about something, anything, and instead created a cacophonous din amidst a flapping and fluttering of wings. The first few practices will be of that calibre I am sure. But somehow, magically, by the time of the first concert the kids will have figured out enough to play most of the right notes at mostly the right times. It is pretty amazing when you think about it.
We have plans to pick up a rental flute tonight for our aspiring musician. Ella can hardly wait to give it a try. Hopefully the first few attempts won’t be too frustrating for her and that she will stick with it long enough to learn to read music.
In my case, music has been a huge part of my life and I can only hope for the same for my daughter.