Monday, December 16, 2013

middle school band....better than you'd expect!

Abi was assigned  the clarinet to play for her grade seven band instrument at the end of grade six. It was written in a letter that was included in her report card, so we had no input or knowledge of this prior. I was excited about her learning to play something different since I never had that opportunity. (I missed out on band by being home schooled for my teenage years, but I don't know how much I wanted to play something then, maybe I wasn't interested anyways! But I do recall wishing I could learn to play piano, cello and violin! )  My husband was not so happy. He was concerned about Abi's asthma and playing a wind instrument. (plus, he also went to public school where band wasn't mandatory. It is at our children's middle school; which bothers him. Which is odd since he actually was in band himself, playing the flute.....I know! My husband played the flute. He has the long fingers for it, but not the delicate personality that you would associate with the flute. teehee.)   

We found out that playing a wind instrument should help her lung capacity and asthma, so that was encouraging. Except that after three months, she was still struggling and finding herself needing to stop after one song or two due to being breathless. Her band teacher, Mr Alexander (I love this man's enthusiasm and encouragement in bringing out musical talent in kids, most who won't even go on to play in high school.) mentioned how he may not have chosen the clarinet for Abi, due to her asthma, but he wasn't teaching last year (he was away on a missions trip in Africa somewhere) and didn't know about it. But he was going to see how she did for the first half year. 

It wasn't until this past week that we put two and two together regarding her asthma: the reeds! Abi has a bad allergy to grass (sitting in it in the summer gave her rashes this year) and that's what reeds are made of!  Hunny did a bit of searching and managed to find some synthetic reeds though, and picked up one (because at that price, we only got one. but they're supposed to last longer)  According to the music store, they had never heard of anyone being allergic to the reeds. That's what Mr Alexander said as well. But Abi was getting an itch on the back of her mouth (not good news for someone with allergies) and her lips (which could be just from vibrations, if you want to get nit-picky) so we didn't want to play around with that.  

The first night she had the synthetic reed, she said she noticed a difference immediately.

That was the night before the band concert!

(oh, that is a terrible picture! ....or maybe it is just my monitor being off in colour. methinks it's time for a new computer...and a new camera!!!)

I was so impressed with the concert. I love how the teachers can take students who may have never played an instrument before (and they won't let them play the ones they already have at home either, just to make it more fun and challenging...and annoying for the parents!) and turn them into something enjoyable to listen to!

I wish my children were musically inclined! My brother is a drummer and I have a music pastor uncle and his musically inclined children, and my mom and I love to sing and used to sing in our church choir. I have to admit that I had hopes of that with my own children. But so far not so much. Out of five children, I may have hope with Eden, though. She loves to sing and dance! She's fun to watch when she doesn't think you're there....she'll start to sway and dance to music in the grocery store while I am shopping! So cute!

It was an enjoyable evening at the middle school, even if there were a few squeaks and squawks from high pitched instruments. Abi played well, I could actually hear here in the two they played. It was so neat to be able to hear the songs that she had practiced at home put together with a whole band. And I'm glad that she is doing better with the reeds.


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