Friday, December 17, 2010

The Clarinet & Square Pegs

I was reading my cousin Tommy's wife's post to her  blog the other day, Band Concert, and it is probably no coincidence that within the last month I had dusted off the old clarinet I had played when I was in high school. I was getting ready to sell it as it has just been sitting around collecting dust for 30+ years.  My dad  kept it stored at his home in North Pole, Alaska, and on one of his summer trips brought it back to me in Arizona. I remember rolling my eyes when he handed it to me because it's highly doubtful I would ever play it again. But I do love the sentiment my dad has for things and as luck would have it, one of my cousin's children has expressed interest in playing the clarinet. So, I'm going to take this wonderful instrument that brought me great joy when I was a teenager, over to the "Music Man", who happens to be within walking distance of my work office, and ask him to put some new pads on the keys & make sure it plays perfectly. Then, I'll send it over so Alex can give music a try.  I am thrilled to pieces to have this clarinet go where love of music lives.

So, I went to bed last night thinking about band & playing the clarinet. This is where I have to inject that I think it is a great crime that schools have done away mostly with music programs unless it's before or after school hours. We were able to take music for credits. Music was a huge part of my high school life. I took band all through high school along with choir. A few of us were selected to attend an honors concert in Sitka one year and somewhere in my belongings I have a critique from a solo I performed. Those kind words that some teacher or music official wrote still make me feel special today when I read them. 

When my son was in junior high, he came home one day and said, "Mom, did you know there are 9 types of intelligences?"  No, son, I did not know that. So he went on to teach me about that. I have never, ever forgotten the moment when I realized that people of all walks of life have gifts and different types of intelligence.  For more about this, go to Theory of Multiple Intelligences.  It's quite interesting and it reminds me that there is a place for everyone on this earth and that sometimes square pegs don't fit into round holes.  I'm a square peg, for sure. 

The thing is, if the theory of multiple intelligences is true (and I believe it is!), how do those kids who have gifts outside of logical and linguistic discover their gift? If the sports and music programs are cut to the bare-bone, what happens to those kids who might excel in those areas?

I'm grateful that when I asked if I could be in band, the answer was yes. Granted, I never went on to do anything great with what I learned in band, but I have an ear and love for music that has never gone away. I have awesome memories of singing harmony with my classmates and of Mr. Matthews teaching & directing us and probably having the best job in the whole world ~ for a music lover. That teacher always had a smile on his face.

And, who knows, Alex may be the next Kenny G!  Or maybe he'll become a music teacher.  Or maybe he'll play in a marching band.  Or maybe he'll just develop a super love of music like I did.  The possibilities are really endless.

love, susan


  1. Amen Susan!! I too have great memories of music and band throughout the years. I started on the clarinet but then switched to the flute. And yes, we had individual lessons and band on school time. That would never happen these days.

  2. I didn't know you ever played clarinet but I do remember you with the flute. Do you still have your old flute?

    I'm so excited to pass my instrument on. The Music Man is sending it to somewhere on the west side of the state to have new pads put on and clean it up & make sure it makes perfect tones.


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