Band……I Knew I Should Have Taken Wood Shop!!!


Image courtesy of

Just as I promised in my last blog post, today’s post is about band.  As you know, I started middle school this year and along with middle school is the opportunity to try some new things.  For the first time, I am enrolled in band.  I actually didn’t choose band, my parents chose it for me.  Sigh……  Just when I get to choose some of the classes that I am in, the elective that they come up with is band?  And because band is a class that lasts all year long, it actually counts as four electives out of the eight that I am allowed, leaving me only four others to choose from!  My sister was in band in middle school and high school.  She played the trombone – a beast of an instrument that I don’t know why anyone would want to play.  The sheer size of it alone is ridiculous!  My brother was in band in middle school too and he’s in the high school band right now.  He plays the saxophone.  It’s a woodwind instrument.  He’s really good, which is really annoying.  His high school band teacher comes to my school to help teach our band classes and my middle school teacher goes to the high school to help teach his band class, so basically we have the same band teachers.  Sigh again……  And both of these teachers also taught my sister.

Well, needless to say, band hasn’t been as easy for me as it was for them.  I play the clarinet.  It’s also a woodwind instrument.  Some people learn to play the clarinet before they learn to play the saxophone.  Not my brother, of course, he went straight to the saxophone.  So, he considers my clarinet to be an “inferior” instrument.  Did I mention that my brother was annoying?  Well, we are in about the fifteenth week of school and I’m still not used to this whole being in band/playing the clarinet thing.

Putting it together.
The reeds – getting them wet and attaching them to the mouthpiece.
Getting enough air into my lungs.
Holding my mouth the right way with the corners tight so that no air escapes.  This is called embrasure.
Blowing with the correct amount of pressure.
Getting the right finger positions on the keys.
Reading the music.
The squeaking!
The pool of spit that’s left on my leg when we are holding the instrument!


Last Thursday, the sixth grade had a “demonstration” concert.  Not a “music” concert.  Not a real concert.  Not a concert like what I’ve been going to and watching my brother play in all these years.  But a “demonstration” concert.  We were divided up into sections by instrument – flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and percussion.  When we got to the clarinet section, we demonstrated our “small instruments,” which is just blowing into the mouthpiece before it is attached to the rest of the instrument; fingering, which just means moving our fingers along the keys; and then we played three songs, Hot Cross Buns, Go Tell Aunt Rhodie, and Merrily We Roll Along.  We squeaked; we played the wrong notes; we survived to play another day!  The whole demonstration lasted an hour.  When it was finally over, I was relieved.