Monday, June 25, 2007

Trombone Trouble: Part 2 - Grade School

In my previous post, I outlined how I had been "tricked" into being assigned a trombone in the fourth grade.

I had weekly "trombone lessons" from Mrs. Hall. This only goes to prove that old axiom, "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." Mrs. Hall was not a trombonist. She couldn't show me how to play the danged thing. All she could do was sit there and tell me I wasn't doing it right.

Of course, I was also conscripted into the school orchestra. As low-man on the trombone totem pole, this mean playing third or fourth chair. My part of the score would consist of six measures of whole notes, 32 measures of rests and 4 more measures of whole notes at the end of the composition. Or to describe it another way:

BLAAAAAT / BLAAAAAT / BLAAAAAT
BLAAAAAT / BLAAAAAT / BLAAAAAT
(an eternity of silence)
BLAAAAAT / BLAAAAAT
BLAAAAAT / BLAAAAA-AAAAAAAAT!!!!!

Two big problems:

1. Since the trombone section never carries the melody, it was nigh impossible to know what I was supposed to be playing. Practicing this crap was an exercise in annoying, flatulent mooing.

2. Counting out 32 bars of rests was deadly. I always lost count and then I wouldn't know when to come in!

Here's how you're supposed to count rests for a piece of music in 4/4 time:

one-two-three-four
two-two-three-four
three-two-three-four
five-two-three-four

oops, I mean, "four-two-three-four"
Oh lord, where am I now???
I dragged through grades four, five and six with this stinkin' albatross around my neck.

My big break came in the seventh grade, when I started Junior High School. Somehow, I was able to convince everybody concerned that this trombone thing was a waste of time and was able to drop it.

I turned in my $5-a-year student rental horn and heaved a sigh of relief. I think the fact that I was learning to play guitar on my own (and actually making progress) was a mitigating factor on the home front.

But then...

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8 Comments:

Blogger whimsicalnbrainpan said...

LOL! Boy but you make playing the trombone sound like such fun! I'm glad you were able to leave it behind.

June 25, 2007 5:42 PM  
Anonymous ianhouse said...

Hi Craig,

I felt just terrible all day long today, sulking around, and feeling quite guilty about exposing my anti-trumpet sentiments in your previous installment ... then I read your decidedly anti-trombone post today and I cheered right up!

I think David had the right idea with those marching cymbals -easy on the eyes (if not so much on the ears) ...

June 25, 2007 8:00 PM  
Blogger yinyang said...

The only thing they made us do in elementary school was go to music class, where we'd learn songs to put on stupid school plays. In high school, you could choose between band, orchestra, choir, or music theory class. Considering that the music theory teacher was crazy (he threw a chair to demonstrate noise), I should have taken choir that year (I took it for the two years after that, though).

June 25, 2007 10:34 PM  
Blogger Dorky Dad said...

I had bad elementary school band teachers, too. It's why I'm so bitter today ...

I taught myself to play guitar, but at an older age, so I basically stink. But I enjoy it, anyway.

June 26, 2007 12:51 AM  
Blogger furiousBall said...

Can't they just program a computer to play my part?

June 26, 2007 9:48 AM  
Blogger charlottalove said...

Flatulent mooing...LOL

June 27, 2007 9:05 AM  
Blogger CS said...

Pretty much my expereince of playing baritone tuba.

Hey, was it evil of me to tell my son that peole who play trobone are called "tromboners"?

July 03, 2007 12:21 AM  
Blogger CS said...

It would help if I could type. Clearly I meant people who play trombone. Yeesh.

July 03, 2007 12:22 AM  

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