Thursday, December 27, 2012

Let the Music Play

Click picture for Shane's blog
In my November 27th post, I asked my readers to submit questions for me to answer. Today's question comes from Shane Morgan of In Shane's Brain. His question:
Have you ever ever been in a band or played a musical instrument?
He said that I was not allowed to count being a roadie in my son's band as having been in a band. Even taking that out of consideration, the answer to this question is still 'YES.' I was in a band for several years.

Waltonville High School band - Freshman year 85-86

I had started playing the alto saxophone when I was in the 4th grade. It was your average grade school band for the first couple of years. Then we got a new music teacher. The band that we had been happy with for the last couple of years was suddenly not good enough. I remember once after months of her strict instruction, we played better than I had ever heard us play before and it was a complicated piece. At the last note, I lowered my instrument with a big smile on my face. The teacher took a deep breath and blew a raspberry at all of us.

Despite how great I thought it was, she knew how good we could be and pushed us further. By the end of the year, she was getting compliments from instructors at other schools about how we were the best high school band they had ever heard. She proudly informed them that we were junior high students.

Under her tutelage, I received 1st place at several state competitions. I enjoyed my saxophone and I was good at it. My 7th and 8th grade years, when we had to go over to the high school last period for shop class or Ag, I would skip class to go to band. I don't know how I got a away with it, but no one ever called me out on it.

As evidenced by the above picture, I joined the band when I reached high school. However, I can find no pictures of me in band after that first year. I have racked my brain and do not remember why I quit. I have a lot of high school memories, but can't remember this one. I was in band faithfully for six years and it just stopped for some reason.

Looking through my yearbooks, I do find evidence that I was involved with several other school organizations. Whether these interfered with the band or whether I just lost interest, I don't know.

Scholastic Bowl - Front right

Spanish Club - almost hidden in back row

If you look at these pictures and the organizations that I was involved with and wonder if I had to struggle to not be considered a nerd, I can assure you, there was no struggle at all. I was a nerd. I had earned that label years before and still wore it. Nerds are a bit more popular today than they were in the 80's. I guess we weren't that enlightened yet...well, I was, but no one else. I always knew I was cool.

I would show you pictures of myself from the sports pages of my yearbook if it weren't for the fact that I am not in any of them. There is a reason for that.

Freshman - 14 y/o
I did gain a little more popularity in my high school years and a lot more self-assurance. I started out as this guy freshman year. I was just starting high school and had no idea what I was getting into.

I couldn't talk to anyone, especially girls. I did my best to live in the shadows and not draw attention to myself. I had poor social skills due to a lack of confidence and just wanted to get through each day without being noticed by an upperclassman.

However, over the next couple of years, things began to change for me. I began to open myself up more. I put myself out there. I learned that if I wasn't as timid, I was taken a little more seriously. My junior year, I even got up the nerve to ask a cheerleader to the Prom…and she said yes (which was the really amazing part). Incidentally, she was the first redhead I ever went out with.

I finished as this ← guy. No less a nerd than when I started, but I had come out of my shell quite a bit. I was even still in the stereotypical nerd clubs. I was on the Scholastic Bowl team, had joined the Journalism staff, was still in Spanish Club and was one of the leads in the school play/variety show. The only thing I was quit was band.

It seems that it was the saxophone that was holding me back. Once I put it down, my life began to change. Do girls like a guy in a band? Well, maybe if you play guitar. However, the saxophone is not so sexy. Just don't tell Ron Swanson.


  1. I love the "Scholarly Spartans" picture: You were such a dork! LOL.

    Did I know you played saxophone? Did you know I played bari-sax? Dude saxophone is the sexiest instrument...and saxophonists are the goof-offs of the band. Just ask my older brother, the band teacher. There's this whole theory of personality as depicted in the instrument one plays. And it's pretty true to life!

    This explains a lot. I love you, my dorky saxophone-player!

    1. I did not know that about saxophonists. I did now it was the sexiest instrument. I hadn't reached a stage where I could have used it to be sexy yet. I must have given it up too soon.

  2. Great story! I'm glad you found your way to being more confident and outgoing. It's fun hearing about the evolution of that.

    I love a guy that can play an instrument, though, no matter what it is. I can't play anything, so it fascinates me when someone can.

    1. I don't know when, but I will tell the story of the evolution at some point. There are a few key things that happened and I am very aware of what they are. Everything changed in that four year span.

      I sometimes wonder how quickly I could pick up the saxophone again.

  3. I was supposed to play the clarinet in my middle school band before I moved, only because I signed up for choir too late so I had to go to the second option. I always wondered what it was like to play an instrument but I've never been able to. I also wonder how easy it would be to pick up an instrument that you haven't played in forever. But mostly, I just think that music is awesome.

    1. I would need a refresher on how to read music. Although, I think that part would come back to me the fastest.

      It is cool to be able to produce music. I wish I had kept with it.

  4. This is why you're full of greatness; no 90's teen movie nonsense about ripping your glasses off and becoming cool because now you magically look like everyone else, you just realized you were awesome. Ha, those questions have given you fodder for quite a few excellent posts the past couple months.

    1. Thank you. I couldn't do the remove the glasses and get a new haircut story, because that is just not the way it happened. It required some self examination and changes in myself for everything to happen.

      I have really enjoyed the questions and am trying to think of a way to turn it into a writing challenge in the near future. It has been a lot of fun.

  5. It funny that i've known you for 8 years and I never knew that you had musical talent.

    1. I wonder if I still have that talent. I may have to pick it up again.


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