Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why Music?

I know I've been silent for much too long, but I'm back now! And I have a question for all the musicians out there:

What made you choose music?

Was there a cute boy in band and you joined just so you could sit next to him? Did you hear the girl next door say she liked guitar so you bought one and taught yourself to play? Were you forced to take piano as a child and then discovered it wasn't so bad?

Everyone has a story. You might feel that yours is uninteresting but I'd like to hear it anyway. How about this--I'll tell you my boring story so you won't feel so bad about yours.

I heard music inside the womb. Not in some cosmic, music of the spheres sort of way. My dad loved to sing and my mother was a music professor. My brother and I are both professional musicians and I don't think a single person who knows our family was surprised by our choice!

My first instrument was the piano. I must've been 5 or 6 when I began. I enjoyed it, and I was pretty decent. A few years later I was given an opportunity to play in orchestra (in my county, orchestra began in 5th grade and band began in 6th). My parents went to the orchestra teacher to ask a very important question.

Mom and Dad: If Robyn ever decides to do this for a living, which instrument would be best?
Mrs. Swoope: Viola, because there are too many violinists and cellists in the world.

And there you have it, folks. That's how my relationship with the greatest instrument in the world began! O:-) I've picked up a few more since then, but piano will always be my first love and viola will always be my greatest love.

Now it's your turn!


  1. Aw, cool post! I am waiting for cane to soak, so here goes...

    I have NO musical family members. None at all. Mom always told us how badly she sang. (And she was not kidding.) We had a piano, and I tried to play at it, but it didn't go well. But I heard a couple of middle school band rehearsals when I was still in elementary school, and it looked like so much fun! So, when I got to middle school, I joined up. (My only other choices were study hall and choir. I knew I didn't want to sing, and didn't need a study hall, so band it was.) I picked flute because I thought that's what the girls played. Also, it was the cheapest.

    But it turns out that I was good at it! But I didn't like the girl who always sat 2nd chair. And then in 8th grade I heard of this thing called the oboe and asked my band director what it was. And in the 2nd half of my freshman year, still not really knowing what it was, I was playing it. I started getting lessons and it caught on...and then I started studying with Phylis and quitting wasn't really an option. (Though I think she might have wanted to kick me out a couple times!) And now, despite complaining about making three reeds a week for lessons back then, I make 100 or more and live off of it. Thanks, Phylis!

  2. My parents started me and all of my siblings (4 of us) in band as soon as band became available in school (4th grade). My sister chose flute, my older brother chose saxophone, my younger brother chose trumpet after me. I wanted to play sax, but since my older brother had already chosen it the year before - and of course I *couldn't* choose the same thing as him - I picked the instrument that I thought was the next closest, which was clarinet.

    In 7th grade, we were allowed to choose only one elective class, and I was torn between art (I liked to draw cartoons) and band. My best friend at the time, Heidi, played flute in band and she said that she was going to choose band as her elective, so my decision was made. And the rest is history! :)

  3. Okay, so here's my story:
    I saw an episode of Reading Rainbow when I was 11 that played an excerpt of Rossini's William Tell Overture. They showed the English Horn playing the theme during the Ranz Des Vaches portion (the song that is always played in cartoons when someone gets up in the morning.) I decided right then and there that I would be an English Horn player.
    So when the time came to select instruments in band (which I believe was required), I said I wanted to play English Horn. They said that I couldn't play the English Horn, so I asked about saxophone. They said I couldn't play that because my hands were too small (WHAT. EVER.) and decided that because my parents already had a clarinet, I would play that.
    My dad promised me that as soon as I perfected the clarinet, I could learn English Horn.
    I was a bit of a perfectionist and hated my band director, so my folks signed me up for private lessons with this awesome curmudgeon hippy who used to yell so loud at his students you could hear him from outside the store. He was the one who ignited in me the passion that I had for clarinet and the desire to continue playing.
    On the other hand, when it came time to decide whether to join marching band, it was the sexy presence of sophomore saxophonist Jeffery Edgar Foarde who made my decision for me. Any chance to be close to him was a chance I took, so I signed up.

  4. The music teacher came around to the 4th grader classes and played the strings. I went home and told my Mom I wanted to play the cello. Mom said cello is too expensive how about the violin?

    So there you have it, I'm a violinist who is STILL really a cellist dying to come out of the closet!


  5. I kind of took piano lessons for a year - when I was 7ish, then we moved. So I joined the church choir, and that's where I started singing. Then I decided I wanted to play the piano well, so I just started practicing. I think it's a really useful skill. I also played the flute in 6-12 grade, but... I didn't really pick it. I was like the only person in the class who could make the correct embouchure, and I had to walk to school... so the teacher assigned me the flute.

    Now I kind of play the flute, decently play the piano, and sing better than the first two. There you go - my musical history.