From 4th grade until the middle of 12th grade, I played trumpet in the school bands. It was never really that fun for me. There were moments, but they were few and far between.
Things started out wrong at the get-go. When I found out that students can choose what instrument they want to learn beginning in 4th grade, I knew I wanted to play the saxophone. I always loved the sound of the sax best out of all the wind instruments. And it looks really cool too.
I started playing, and I was really good. A natural.
As I got older and into high school, one-by-one the trumpet players who were ranked “better” than me dropped out of band. They were just sick of the oppressive nature of the band leader. He made things not fun for us. Which is totally ridiculous. This is music. How can you make music not fun for kids?
By 11th grade, I was rated the best trumpet player in the school district.
I was quite a wise-ass at this time. So when things were boring in class or I just felt like fucking with the teacher, I acted out. This happened all the time in band.
I sometimes wonder why the band leader didn’t just threaten to kick me out. That may have been leverage at the time. Maybe he felt he needed me. Maybe he felt he could change me. Maybe I could have changed. But not by his methods.
Band was just not fun. It was worse than that. I dreaded going. By the time I got to the middle of my senior year, I dropped out of band. I just didn’t want to do it anymore.
There were two results of me dropping out of band:
- I never played trumpet again. A very sad result. Especially because over the past 15 years, I’ve become to love jazz. At this point it would probably take me many months or even years of daily playing to get back to where I was when I was playing trumpet as a kid. I just don’t have the motivation for this, because........
- I started playing guitar. Never had any formal lessons. Just got a guitar, learned some chords, learned a basic blues scale to use when soloing, and then let 'er rip. I play guitar every day.
But maybe I would have discovered guitar much earlier? Maybe if music was nurtured in me. Instead of being oppressed. Or maybe if I was able to handle the teaching methods of my band leader. Probably a little of both.
I love music. I love guitar. I’m happy now.