I played clarinet in Concert Band from Grade 6-Grade 12. I did very well at it getting A’s & B’s on a constant basis. That was 20+ years ago. I could not for the life of me play or read clarinet music if you asked me to do so today.
My wife and I strongly support music learning in the school system. It teaches some fantastic skills that can be very useful in everyday life. Aside from math, teamwork, and public performing- the skill sets such as studying, practicing, and reliability become enforced as well. We also support music learning outside of the school. All three of our children play piano. Our oldest plays flute and has taken up playing a clay ocarina that we picked up at a convention for her. (Mostly because she really wants to play video game themes and Star Wars). For our son- we bought an electric drum kit when he was in Grade 1. Not one of those toy ones either from Walmart, we figured he’d appreciate it more to get a nice set to practice on. Our middle daughter received an electric guitar for Christmas one year and has been bugging to get lessons for a few years now. That was put by the wayside because of every other activity the kids do.
However, I did pass on my clarinet onto our middle child when she was in Grade 5. She loved playing it so much that she practiced all the time without being asked. She also entered the Honor Band program that year. This past year she decided to join choir and surprised me at her talent. (My wife and I both are terrible singers, but still belt out a song just for fun.) Next year our middle child will be going into Grade 7, so she asked about learning a new instrument. As I mentioned before, she has already been doing piano since Grade 1, so my wife and I gave her the okay to look at expanding her musical horizon. I thought she would choose to play the flute like her older sister or possibly the saxophone.
She chose the bassoon.
Her music teacher called us yesterday and told us the school has a bassoon for her to borrow over the summer. He seemed very excited and felt that because of her interest in the instrument that she will do quite well at it. We picked it up later in the day and my daughter put it together. Standing up: the assembled bassoon is almost as tall as she is.
When my daughter got home she decided to go online to learn more about the bassoon. She wanted to learn how to assemble it and how to play the notes. She went one step further and created a Power Point Presentation about the bassoon on her own accord. Her excitement about the bassoon is very eccentric and adorable. I’m not sure where the desire came from, but I sure don’t want to crush her enthusiasm. I know she will perform quite well at the instrument. I’m also really happy that the school is lending us one, since the cost of reeds alone for the bassoon is astronomical compared to the clarinet.
It is encouraging to see that we have shown our children a pathway to musical education and that they have taken to it with great strides. I strongly recommend parents to look at music as a fun educational tool. Who knows where your kids may go. Perhaps one day, they too will want to play the bassoon.