Of my innumerable talents, playing an instrument credibly is not one of them.
Learning the toy xylophone may have been my crowning achievement as a little boy; oh how I’d tap out the simple colour coded nursery rhymes in the booklet never once realizing I might branch out on my own with original compositions.
When I became proficient at the two guitar chords required to strum my way to prominence in the junior choir at Church, I thought I’d made it. How long though can you play and sing Jesus Is Lord with feeling? Those were the words to the whole song. Repeat over and over and over while awkwardly alternating chords until your head spins.
Once in a while, being an open minded young man, I’d go all interfaith with my musical attempts. I played the Jew’s harp for a while. I know what you’re thinking, how could something you have to play with your hands and your mouth not be the sexiest instrument on the planet? Trust me.
Our school had choral competitions every year and the music teacher in her selection process would have us traipse up to her at the piano and sing a few bars. She’d yay or nay us and we were in or out. Listening for her was a common sense approach. When I was the only boy out of the whole Grade 6 class chosen to sing in the choir, I showed little common sense and bowed out in embarrassment.
We all had to play the recorder in school which may stand as one of the most ear damaging instruments in the history of junior band. Could they not just have told us Don’t blow so hard! Learning to play The Friendly Giant theme tune was cool though. Rest in peace Friendly!
A nun tried to teach me piano once but I lasted only one lesson because I knew I wasn’t yet ready to think with both of my hands. A friend of mine has offered to teach me to play now but when she talks about scales and drills, all I can think of is dentistry.
The big bass drum was a pretty sweet assignment in junior high music class and it was easy to hit your mark with that one. The teacher was cool too because he talked to us like maybe we were budding people instead of the mutants we were and about things like Saturday Night Live and his ponytail. And then they canned the music program.
My entire musical education summed up in a few short paragraphs. Where did it all go wrong?
I know Pink Fluffy Slippers is a cellist and that Coaster Punchman can sing and play piano. If everyone else joined in, what would it sound like?