Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 287 - Middle School Band Concert

Ever been to a Middle School Band Concert?

Doesn't count if you were playing in the concert. If you were playing, then to you, it sounded great.

It doesn't. I'm just sayin'.

It's probably worst if you were in a band through high school, because chances are you know what it was supposed to sound like. And that wasn't it.

But as parents, we go, and we pick up a program, and we listen to the band director who doesn't seem to understand that we don't want to listen to him talking, and we don't think he's funny. We are there to endure, applaud, and take a couple pictures.

If you have a kid considering band, contemplating instruments, let me make a recommendation... percussion.

By way of full disclosure, I was a percussionist when I was in school. But section loyalty has nothing to do with this. It's purely about making it through the concert. Honest.

My daughter played clarinet. She was one of approximately 73 clarinet players in the band. When she was playing, so were 72 other kids. Not a lot to keep your attention there.

My son started on baritone. When he played, so did two other kids, and I couldn't pick their part out from the rest of the parts that weren't the melody. Baritones never play the melody. They are the right fielders of the band... they've gotta be there for the whole thing, but in the end, they really didn't need to be there.

This year, by some treble-cleffed miracle, he switched... to percussion. And it is awesome!

First, he stands up when he plays, so I can actually see him.

Second, he plays a different instrument every song. He moves from one to another, turning the inter-song delay from an opportunity to check one more time for any new text messages, to percussion roulette, wondering which instrument he'll land on.

Third, and most importantly, when he plays, you can hear it. Tonight, on the first song, he hit the xylophone, hundreds of times. Then he played the snare drum, including a fine drum roll. And finally he thumped the big bass drum. And I could see and hear every note.

So push the kids to drums. If nothing else, it makes the concerts pass faster.

Oh, and encourage them to run cross country or track*. They build character and self-esteem, and start them off on a life time of running, which is a great thing. Even better than playing xylophone.

Good running,

*Running blog quota met.

Numbers: 4.6 miles on trails.