Thursday, March 17, 2005

Return of the Thursday Three

Not that it ever went away, mind you. It’s just that I haven’t participated in sooooooo long, that I thought it merited a titular “Return of”. (Heh, heh…he said titular) Anyway, here goes nothing.

1. What instrument do you play?

I played trumpet from the 5th grade through high school. I used to pick it up a couple of times a year after that, but the last several years have been a long dry spell. Of course, playing the trumpet also qualifies you to play the baritone (same fingerings, different size mouthpiece, lower range).

I played a year’s worth of saxophone in the 8th grade and for the life of me, I can’t remember why.

I can play enough piano to know I can’t really play. There are only a handful of songs in my repertoire that I’ve managed to memorize over the years. These days I leave the piano playing to the EAC and the YAC.

I can play a few chords on the guitar. I’ve played long enough to develop some calluses a couple of times, but promptly get busy and lose whatever little bit I had.

I can play the recorder (not the tape recorder either, though I CAN play that too). We have a soprano and an alto recorder. The soprano is what your kids played in their grade-school music class. I prefer the alto because it’s not nearly as shrill and has a richer tone. My sister-in-law has a tenor that’s really cool, requiring keys/pads to cover the lower holes since no one’s hands are big enough to stretch that far. Let me tell you, I used to be able to belt out “Red light, green light” (Peter, Paul and Mary), “Heart of Gold” (Neil Young) and “Even Now” (Barry Manilow) so sweetly on that tenor recorder that you’d be brought to tears. (Begging for mercy, most likely)

2. Which one do you wish you could play if time and talent were not involved?

All of them (except for the drums), but I’d start with the piano.

3. Have you ever taken lessons for an instrument or voice and how did it go?

I’ve never taken lessons for an instrument, unless you count the few sessions my mother attempted with me when I was little. (Practice tip: Place a row of Cheerios on the piano and allow the child to eat one every time they play through a song. When they’re all gone, they’re done practicing.) As for voice, I’ve never PAID for any training, but I have been privileged to be in several church choirs with very talented directors. One of them was the choir director for the seminary, so rumor had it that he might know a thing or two. I certainly know a lot more about how to sing than I used to. Now, whether that translates into singing better, I have no idea…but anything is an improvement, if you know what I mean.

Which leads to my follow-up answer to question #2. If I had my ‘druthers, I’d give up all the instruments to be able to sing. Not sing like ‘able to carry a tune’ or sing like ‘doesn’t make me vomit’ or even sing like ‘you don’t hear THAT every day’, but SING. You know, make the girls weak in the knees and the guys weep in shame at their own inadequacies type of singing.

Take Vince Gill and cross him with Josh Groban, mix in a little Harry Chapin and Joe Feeney (from the Lawrence Welk show), add a dash of Manilow, a pinch of Sumner (JD brand) and a smidgeon of Torme (make sure you don’t get this confused with Goulet or you’ll have to scrap the batch and start over) and top off with a dollop of Matthew Ward (may substitute Greg X. Volz or Bryan Duncan if no Matthew Ward is available). Now THAT’S what I’m talking about!!!

Fortunately for the world (and probably more fortunately for me and my gi-normous ego), it ain’t gonna happen. But it makes for a nice daydream now and then.

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