Thursday, May 20, 2010

Capoeira is hard, part II

When we started middle school in sixth grade, we had to select a music class instead of taking the generic elementary music course. Our choices were chorus, band, and orchestra, and there was a definite class divide - chorus was for kids who couldn't afford an instrument (not, alas, for those with divine voices). Violins didn't appeal to me, and most of my friends were in band, so off to band I went.

In sixth grade I played the flute. The flute is an affordable instrument, meaning are always too many flutes and clarinets in a middle-school band, so in seventh grade I switched to the bassoon. My talent was underwhelming, despite taking extra classes with a very gifted teacher from the North Carolina School for the Arts. The family referred to it as my "dead cow," which was wishful thinking on their part, dead cows being much quieter than dying ones.

When I started high school I stuck with band, but when I got to school before the semester began - band started early because we had to prepare for the marching season - I found out that bassoons don't march. I was put on the bass drum, the smallest of four.

Even at the bass drum I was something of a disaster. I mastered the notion of right-left-right-left, but the cadences and even "School's Out" left me confused when the drum line was anything but one-two-three-four. I went back to the bassoon once the season was over, earned one of my two B's from high school, and dropped out of band after that year. (The other B was in geometry. Music and math are related, yes? Also, I wasn't a very motivated student my freshman year.)

The lesson from all this was that I find any instrument more complicated than the triangle a challenge, and I may be underestimating the triangle.

So, naturally, I have now picked an activity that involves learning to play multiple instruments. "The berimbau is easy," Cojacki tells us. Not as easy as the bass drum, I think to myself.

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