Sunday, June 04, 2006

Humility, Thy Name is Recorder

Alas, there is nothing so humbling as learning to play an instrument. And of these instruments, some provide more character building experiences than others. The recorder is one such instrument.
Do not be fooled by its simple appearance, its neat line of 10 unassuming holes, and its afforability and subsequent presence in many elementary music classrooms. This is no easy instrument to master. In fact, it is a downright impossibility to play well if a)you have never had any formal musical background or training to start with, b)you're older than the age of 12, c)you happen to have a moist mouth or moist palms and fingers or poor fine motor coordination skills.

I am slightly fortunate that 8 years of piano and 5 years of violin have given me some experience with fingering, and musical notation, and fingering at musical notation. ;) However, my background was no match for this flute-like instrument of the devil. As I attempted to play through songs with a 6-note range (which is nothing if you are a true musician), I created all manner of squeaks and squeals that can only have come straight from the pits of hell. The reasons for these eardrum-blowing noises? I blew too hard
, I blew too softly, my fingers didn't cover the holes properly, my fingers were covering the holes too much, there was too much moisture in the recorder, there was too much moisture in my mouth, there was too much moisture on my sweaty fingertips, etc. Apparently if this instrument is not mastered by the time one is 12 (and I was not among the "privileged" pre-pubescents to be given such recorder training), then it is essentially a hopeless cause.

So the question of the day is: why does Mrs. Loquacious put herself through such humbling trials to learn this challenging instrument? The answer is: she is a masochist. And she is taking a class on how to teach music to rugrats that requires her to "play" children's songs on the diabolical soprano recorder.

After several hours of practice over the past week that has resulted in my hubby having to a)blast his MP3 music very loudly to drown out my cat-in-a-blender squeakage, b)leave the room, and c)pray for my class to end soon, I have built a ton of character and learned a lot about being humble and being able to laugh at myself (or cry at my pathetic playing skills).

I have never been so thankful to be deaf in one ear!


Ridley Thunder said...

Why did they make us learn the recorder?!?!? It's the worst instrument known to man, and I'm including such things as the bagpipes, and accordions