Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 26 - A song that you can play on an instrument

by Dick Mac

The 30 Day Song Challenge has been presented to me by my friend Beff. The month of April will be dedicated to those thirty songs.

In grammar school I attended tryouts for the matching band. I had failed to get into the choir because I can't sing; but I figured that I could learn any instrument.

I wanted to play the saxophone.

All the third grade boys were lined-up outside the music room in the Guild Building and the man who directed the marching band sat inside with some current, older band members.

We entered one at a time.

I was handed a single drumstick.

"Try to copy what I do," he said.

He tapped out a short rhythm. I was unable to copy it.

He tapped out a different rhythm, and I was unable to copy that.

"I don't think you will make it as a drummer," he said. He wasn't unkind, he wasn't mean, he was just matter-of-fact.

"I don't want to play the drums," I explained.

"You don't?" He asked. "What instrument do you want to play?"

"I want to play the saxophone," I explained gleefully.

He snickered. "Did you hear that?" He asked the the musicians. "He wants to play the saxophone."

And then he laughed.

And then all the musicians laughed.

I stood there in silence, my face on fire.

He pointed to a musical instrument case standing in the corner and said, "Do you know how big a saxophone is? It's half your size. You see that? That's a saxophone. You'd never be able to play that."

They all had a good laugh and I stood there.

I don't remember leaving.

I was determined to learned about music and I started to learn all the words to all the songs I liked. I studied lyrics and looked for double-entendre. I learned metaphors for love and sex, I learned about rhyming and rhythm, beyond just the obvious. I learned about songwriters and songwriting teams.

I never learned to play an instrument.

But I know I can play this: Two Minutes Silence, by Plastic Ono Band:

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