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Bad Beginnings

Updated: May 16, 2018

Band...just the word makes my skin crawl a little. Yeah, I did my time, served two years in the hole, got out on early release aka homeschool in the middle of my 8th grade year. Son of a single widowed mom working two jobs made getting to and from marching events and practices impossible. Because everyone but me was marching the majority of my last year in school band was spent staring at the walls of an 8x10 cell, (whoops) I mean practice room, with no new music to work on and no instruction, at all. Despite barely being able to choke through a scale and failing to master my sadly elementary music my report card brandished an "A" in band. Perhaps I just did an extra great job of sitting in the practice room! Then again it could have been a misprint. To earn an "A" one would think I would have had to do...well, anything at all, and the band director would have to have heard me play to render an opinion/grade. All evidence to the contrary, the A was a permanent part of my school transcript. I know band directors do the very best with what they have. I also know millions of musician's roots are in high school band programs. My personal experience with it just didn't foster a positive attitude toward music, not even a little. After a dramatic and terrifying 8th grade experience complete with physical danger, academic monotony, and emotional crisis, my mom made an impromptu decision to homeschool me, beginning in the middle of the school year. She chose music studies as an elective, tracked down the horn repair guy (who happened to be a trumpet player) that fixed my student horn when I sat on it in 7th grade, and asked if he happened to give lessons or knew someone who did. Turns out the repair guy taught trumpet at Shorter University. My mom scheduled me for a lesson a week. Toting my bad attitude, resistance to positivity, untrusting heart, annoyingly positive mom, and my student horn I arrived for my lesson and tried my very best not to like it. Despite may best efforts, my resolve to be grumpy and dark were weaker than the respect I had for the teacher. I simply could not show up unprepared for the following week. He took me seriously, something that I had never experienced before. Like magic, a door opened up and a clear path I couldn't run down fast enough appeared.


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