My son got a letter from his high school welcoming him to band. The trouble is – he didn’t sign up for band next year. He’s tired of it, finally, after five years of playing an instrument bigger than himself.
In 4th grade when the elementary school students met with the band teacher we expected he’d want to play an instrument. We hoped he would not want to play the drums – too loud, but would have put up with the noise. I secretly wished he’d want to learn the saxophone, because I like the sax. We were surprised. No we were shocked, when he told us he wanted to play the baritone.
He told us he chose it because he’d get in band for sure in middle school because there were few people who played the baritone. We asked him to reconsider. Did he know how heavy the instrument would be? He had to walk the few blocks to school carrying not only the baritone, but also his backpack. He assured us that the baritone was his instrument of choice, his destiny.
The first year he played the baritone we rented it from a shop in Wheaton. It was not cheap to rent a baritone, our son seemed genuinely interested in learning to play. We encouraged him to practice in the family room – a basement level room with lots of carpeting and a door that closed.
After the first month he grew tired of lugging the heavy instrument the three blocks to school and back – so I often drove him the days he had band practice.
The second year we rented the instrument from a more reasonable rental company, except we didn’t get the deposit back at the end of the year since it looked as if Andrew had used the instrument for batting practice.
When he went to middle school the band instructor convinced Andrew to play the tuba. I was not pleased. The tuba, as I pointed out to the teacher was about the size of a small car. He assured me Andrew would not have to lug the tuba back and forth – the school had one they could use.
So, now moving on to high school, considering his track record, I assume they would expect him to play the sousaphone. Luckily he talked to his counselor today. He’s taking electronic music instead.
In 5th grade (I think it was 5th grade) he composed a song to play at one of the concerts. The band teacher was very sweet and let anyone play a solo – even their own compositions. Andrew worked for months on this tune, I remember him humming it, then playing it, asking if it sounded good. However he neglected to really practice it just before the concert.
Watch Andrew play his own composition on his baritone in 5th grade.