3/04/2012

My First Love!

Well, I guess I enticed you to come back today to see how I was reunited with my first love.

Look what I got!
Isn't it just beautiful?
When I was in jr. high/high school, I absolutely LOVED my flute.  I had just about the best band director in the world up until my sophomore year in high school:  he and his wife taught me everything I knew about music.  At the end of my freshman year, he dropped a bomb:  He was leaving.  I don't know of anybody who wasn't bummed about the news.  He arranged our marching music; I had no idea you could actually buy field music until the next year.  When anyone asks me who my band director was in high school, I say it was this man, because, honestly, my music education was completely stagnant for the next 3 years.  We begged the new guy for more difficult music, but he said no.  That was the beginning of the dwindling numbers in the Small Town High School's band.  When I was a freshman, we had 1/3 of the school in the band; there were about 300 students in the high school, and 100 of those were in the band.  We had to take 3 buses everywhere we went.  These days, the football team has more people than the band.  The band is down to 1 bus and the football team needs at least 2, some years they need 3.  On the bright side, though, when I moved back to the Small Town, there were only 18 people in the band, and now there are around 50.

I had big dreams for myself and my flute:  I wanted to be the first female flautist on Lawrence Welk (he only had male flautists...watch reruns and you'll see what I'm talking about).  I even wanted to be a studio musician at one point.  If you don't know what that is, Barry Manilow wrote a song about them:


But, with a stagnant music education, and going from a big fish in a little pond to a little fish in a big pond (also called college), I realized I wasn't going to set the world on fire with my flute playing.  I majored in music for a total of 1 semester, then started looking for something else to do with my life.  Music has always played a major role in my life:  during college I played in the concert band a year or 2, and was in the flute choir. Even after college,  I worked with high school bands as a guard instructor, and I continued to play my flute at church and a couple of weddings.  Then came babies.  Eventually, I decided that my flute had been neglected long enough, and I knew there had to be some child out there who wanted to learn to play the flute but didn't have the funds, so I donated my flute to a local middle school band.  I did it with the stipulation that whoever uses it takes care of it and loves it as much as I did.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago:  With YS in band, that yearning came back.  I looked on eBay and talked to someone who owns a pawn shop.  One of my high school friends was playing in the community band, and told me about it.  I told her I needed to get a flute, and she suggested looking in the pawn shops.  Only I never made it into one of those shops.  I called the flute teacher that our high school uses, and she offered to look at some for me.  I kind of put in on the back burner, until one of the band moms (who also was on the flag corps with me in college) mentioned that a friend of hers had a flute that her daughter played for a couple of years.  She was trying to sell it.  I believe in signs, and I definitely think that's what this was.  Her friend got the flute out, took it to a music store, got the pads replaced, and got an estimate on what she should ask.  Y'all, I really got a steal.

(Side note:  Yesterday in Mass, the priest's homily was about recognizing signs.)

Okay, so that was 2 years ago.  I drug my feet, and even let a band dad who has a flute player in middle school know about it.  I saw him a month ago, and he said they hadn't done anything about it.  Another sign.  I met the friend's friend a few weeks ago, and she said she still has it.  I told her I just needed to go ahead and get it.  After the band clinic weekend, the love was rekindled!  I got back in touch with her, made sure the price was the same, and jumped on it.

We were going to meet on Wed. night, but we had a monsoon that night so it was postponed until Thursday.  I took it home, got it out, rearranged it until it felt familiar, and off I went!  I was a little shaky at the very beginning with my tone and some of the fingerings, but it started to come back after a little while.  Here's the crazy thing:  I remembered how to play the field show when I was a freshman (except for one run in Punchinello and our opener).  When I was a junior, I switched instruments on the field from a flugelhorn to a piccolo for a flute solo, but Thursday,  I didn't even know where to begin to start playing that song.  Think my first band director had an impact on me?

I am sooo excited to have been reunited.  This flute is almost exactly like the one I had.  There are a couple of groups nearby that I hope to eventually get into, but I've got a whole lot of practicing to do first!

Question for the day:  Is there something in your past that is tugging at you?  Maybe a talent you had in high school (or earlier or later) that is tugging at you to revisit it?
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16 comments:

  1. So glad you got a flute! I always admired your musical talents!

    I would *love* to get a french horn and start playing again...but they are very cost prohibitive. My dream: play Ave Maria on the french horn for my mom on Mother's Day. Seriously doubt that will happen. But then again, I thought my dream of teaching would never happen...never say never!

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  2. During my fourth grade year in elementary school a new boy started riding my school bus. He always sat in the same seat and never spoke to anyone. He would just stare out the window for the trips to and from school. I found out that he was deaf. So, I asked our librarian to help me find a book on sign language. I studied and taught myself the basics. After a few weeks I got enough courage to sit next to Scotty on the school bus and start a "conversation". I'll never forget his smile that first day of communicating with him. I should "reunite" with the art of sign language.

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  3. Mary - I love this post and I'm so glad you decided to "go for it". It's never to late to begin again. I'm doing what I love at this very moment - WRITING!

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  4. I want a French Horn, too. I loved that instrument. Only, I never owned one--just played the school owned horn. They are expensive, so I'm not expecting to own one any time soon!

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  5. Oh good for you!!! I remember you and your flute way back then. And I remember that GREAT band director. Enjoy your reunion and have fun!!!

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  6. I'm so glad that you got the flute. I always wanted to play the flute, but my parents wouldn't spend the money to buy me a flute when I was in junior high. Hope you will be able to get into those groups!

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  7. I'm glad you went for it! Have fun!

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  8. Oh, but I loved this post, Mary! Good for you in reuniting with the flute! I've always wanted to play the guitar and now there is an attachement called the Chord Buddy that would help me greatly as my hands are pretty arthritic. I just need to do it! I'll keep you posted! :-)

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  9. What a great story, Mary! Good for you!

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  10. Amazing story and so awesome that you still love to play!

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  11. Oh. My. Goodness!!!! I love the flute - only it wasn't Lawrence Welk I admired...it was Jethro Tull. (I know. I'm a bit of a rebel) Sad thing though, i took the easy way out. Even though I've always loved the flute (my best friend played it) I played the bells. Not the hand held, ring-a-ding bells, but the ones I can't spell the name of right now! I wanted a sure "A" and since I played piano that was close enough for me. I always regretted not chosing the flute. I bought a used one many years later, but in nowhere near the good shape yours is. Sadly, my teacher moved so... anyway, you've put that old spark back in me!

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  12. Mary...so very happy you have this opportunity. Remember how you were looking for a book club, or arts and craft hobby? I think THIS is what you were suppose to be doing. Another sign those others didn't pan out. Keep us updated!

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  13. Oh, what a fun post Mary!
    Ok, first I have to tell you that reading this on my phone....um, your flute looked like a Bong.
    And I thought: What they heck? What happened to sweet Mary????? LOL
    I am so glad you are getting back to your first love and not the illegal stuff either.
    I was a gymnast in school....so really, there is no going back to that if I want to survive.
    Truthfully, all my talents came later in life!!!
    Best of luck with your not-bong Flute!

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  14. well, now you've got me thinking....maybe I should paint here in the near future.

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  15. I took flute lessons for a while when I was a youngster. Then, I played clarinet for a while. I've always wanted to go back and properly learn how to play an instrument...perhaps piano or violin. I will, at some point, take music lessons. Maybe in a year or two. Loved your memory sharing!!

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  16. I kind of dropped off reading blogs (not just yours) recently -- things like that go in cycles for me sometimes. Anyway, I'm skimming your back entries and saw this. *Yay!* Like Tina, I was always proud of your flute & piccolo playing. I bragged about you!

    I tried getting back to trombone a few years (hah, a decade) ago and quickly decided it required more practice than I cared to do. Of course, now I'm taking vocal lessons, playing my bass and keyboards more often for my band, and I bought a guitar around Christmas and have been learning to play it, too. I'll be playing it when we do a gig next month, for a couple of songs.

    Anyway, I understand and applaud you getting back to music!

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