On Parenting at the Washington Post — Good news, everybody: We are the proud new owners of a baritone horn, a band instrument that’s big and brassy, and apparently not a tuba.
We’ve been renting it for my son’s band class for the past three school years, making monthly payments that — fun story — it turns out were actually lease-to-own payments that have ended with ownership of what is easily my family’s first enormous brass object with a spit valve. I am happy about this, in the way that you’re happy about suddenly owning a huge pricey object you weren’t planning to buy, and which will probably live in your basement, crawl space or attic for the next 40 years.
It’s a happy accident, and one that cements band as something that, in three years, went from a school-day hobby to a regular, if mysterious, part of my son’s identity.
This thing is harder than it looks, man.
Island Packet — I don’t want to make a big deal of this, but I performed at my first-ever junior high band concert last week. Stage and spotlight and my mom in the audience taking pictures and everything. It was a pretty big milestone, especially since it was a concert for fifth-graders and I’m actually 39 years old.
See, I never participated in band in junior high or high school for one very simple reason: I didn’t have to. (To be fair, I also possess the approximate musical talent of a sack full of jelly donuts, but it was mostly that first one.) I wasn’t just going to go “joining the band,” man, I had important demands on my time, such as getting really into pro wrestling for three years, learning to beat Super Mario Bros. 3 using only muscle memory and thinking very hard about maybe possibly one day asking a girl out. Band for me was not mandatory. Band at my son’s school is mandatory.
That’s pretty great, of course. Schools across the country are slicing away everything from band to PE to art to textbooks with evolution and climate change in them, so we’re incredibly lucky to have the 10-year-old enrolled in a place that not only prizes music education but also punches you in the face with it.