Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Too Easily Foiled by Size and Gender

When I was asked which instrument I wanted to play in my grade school’s newly formed band, I said, “Drums!”

“Girls don’t play drums,” snapped the teacher.

So I turned my musical aspirations to the orchestra, for which I saw myself playing string bass.

“Your hands are too small,” another teacher told me.

“Then how about cello?” I chirped.

“Same thing. Why don’t you play the violin?”

Because I didn’t want to play a high-pitched instrument, nor did I want to play an instrument that gobs of other kids were already struggling with. But somehow I got roped into the flute. And all the years I played it, I harbored aspirations to push the instrument into unusual territories—new genres, new sounds—rather than conforming to the Mozart and Debussy available to me. But I never mustered the confidence required to improvise and branch away from the norm.

Enter my husband, who introduced me to PROJECT Trio this week—a combo of two instruments I always longed to play and the one I ended up with. The trio explores the territories I had hoped to pioneer decades ago—even holds a camp to teach young people how to play their instruments “in any musical situation and in multiple different styles.” What a dream! (Do you think I’m too old to go to camp?)

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