Friday, August 13, 2010

Starting to Play a Musical Instrument

Today my husband and I were both off of work, so after the girls' swimming lessons, we grabbed a quick lunch at home and then started our back-to-school errands. First stop was at the local music store to lease a clarinet for our eldest daughter who is going to take an instrument for the first time this year. We are very excited and looking forward to her playing in the band later this school year. I played the clarinet for a number of years growing up, and I have a beautiful clarinet sitting unused in the closet. However, I thought I'd rather get her her own that is not quite as valuable -- not sure that I want a 4th grader carrying my clarinet to and from school on the bus... I called around and looked online and decided that for us, the option of paying one price ($179) upfront and leasing for the year would be less expensive than the rent-to-own programs -- approximately $30 per month. Of course, when we were standing in the store today and I was about to sign the lease contract, I was having second thoughts and said to the woman, "I have to be honest, I'm wavering, because I have a perfectly lovely clarinet at home in the closet!" And the woman said, "I was a 4th grade band instructor at one time -- if you like your clarinet, leave it in the closet!" Ok -- signed the paper and we were done. My girl's biggest excitement (besides the Beatles guitar picks -- she's a new fan, have I mentioned that?)? We bought and brought home her clarinet lesson book and flipping through she noticed the song "Blue Bells of Scotland" is in there! (My mother will appreciate that -- it's the song that was in the music box she bought for her grandmother -- who was from Scotland -- and my girl has the music box and LOVES the song!)

Music has always been a big part of our family -- my parents both played instruments (that's how they met in college), my husband's mother still sings with a chorus and has had the opportunity to travel to Europe and sing in festivals, and my mother was a music teacher at one point of her life. My husband loves music but never took an instrument -- something he regrets now. If your child shows an interest there are lots of options for buying, renting or leasing. Check out your local music stores, check out Craig's List or eBay or even the local classifieds. And ask around, maybe you know someone from whom you can borrow an instrument. Playing in the band or orchestra or singing with the chorus are all wonderful ways for your child to build confidence, meet new friends, and learn about working as a team.

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