I adore the flute. It’s my favorite instrument, and I fell in love with it at an early age. A high school girl who went to my church when I was growing up played a flute solo one Sunday, and that was it – I was hooked. I was determined that I would someday play the flute as well. So when instrument try-outs for the fifth grade band rolled around the spring semester of my fourth grade year and we were asked to list which instruments we wanted to play, I listed flute first. (It was followed by clarinet, which my mom had wanted me to play because she and my aunt had also played the clarinet, and then she wouldn’t have had to buy me an instrument.)
There were four flutes in my fifth grade band, and I was ecstatic to be one of them. I was also pretty tickled that two of my best friends were also among the flute section. I was so excited I could hardly stand it. Before she died, I even managed to teach my mom to play a song on the flute, which means either I’ve lost whatever teaching skill I might have had once upon a time, or she was just a really quick study. 😄
I practiced incessantly growing up; one day I practiced for three hours straight. I didn’t do that terribly often, but I did take my practicing seriously. When I was in seventh grade, my band teacher had me try out the bassoon, which was a major shift. I rather regret not sticking with it now, but at the time, it wasn’t something that I loved enough to make the trouble worth it (I had to carry the thing eight blocks to the bus stop and it took up a ton of room in my seat, plus it made my lips hurt).
In high school, my flute took me to a marching band competition and an all-state band tryout and into the pit band for the musical my senior year. I played at football and basketball games , I marched in parades, and I participated in contests for small groups and large. Band was my passion, and while I loved the jazz band music, I didn’t participate because there wasn’t a lot of demand for the flute and I wasn’t proficient in anything else that could have been useful in a jazz ensemble, to my everlasting regret. As a result, when I received the John Philip Sousa Band Award my senior year, I was beyond surprised.
I played regularly through my first year of college, but then life happened and my flute has lain more or less silent ever since. I still putter about with it every now and then, but I’m really rusty and I have a hard time listening to myself play. I may not have been the best flute player ever, but I was certainly passionate about it. One day, I’d like to be able to play more again, and I’d love to be part of an ensemble again.
How about you – do you play an instrument? Tell me all about it!
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