A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I wanted to learn to play the flute. However, by the time I got my head out of a book and decided that I ought to get my name down on the school’s music lesson list, the ‘Flute’ was over subscribed and that was the end of that. However, the music mistress sympathised and said, “Never mind dear, I’ll put you down for the clarinet instead.” Hmm. Disappointed.
A clarinet duly appeared and I began the tortuous process of trying to make the damn thing make a decent noise. Now, if you know anything about wind instruments, nothing’s ever easy is it? Who the heck came up with the idea of making a musical instrument that works like a clarinet? You can’t just puff into it can you? No, you need to buy a reed that is strapped across the specially shaped mouthpiece. You then have to do complicated things with your teeth. And blow.
After weeks of practise, you might produce a sound that would be more useful as a decoy on a duck hunt, than in an orchestra. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the reeds have to be replaced regularly, or, the duck noises become frequent and occur unexpectedly, even when you’ve mastered the wretched thing.
I persevered and could eventually produce a relatively musical noise. I was then put in the school’s orchestra. And this is where things started to go wrong. More playing meant more reeds, which meant more trips to the town’s music shop. Frankly, I couldn’t be bothered. I prefered doing my homework (what a swat!), going riding or seeing my friends. So, the reeds didn’t g-e-t r-e-p-l-a-c-e-d. All of which meant random, explosive, quacking noises from the clarinet section.
Every time this happened, I cursed myself for not having got my butt down to the music shop, but it still didn’t motivate me to do anything. Especially, when I found the ultimate let out. I decided to start miming (Sorry, Mrs. Brown. Yes, finally admitted it, after … years). Needless to say, the clarinet and I parted company, sometime later.
Time, much time, passed and being a grown up with money and everything, I finally bought a flute about three years ago. I didn’t get far with it due to the family’s continued laughter (“Is that a steam train or a 125?”) and the Offspring’s repeated requests to play with it, whenever I wanted to practise.
This time, I’m not going to be put off.