punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

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Poll: Musical instruments

Did you ever learn to play a musical instrument? How? Like school band, relatives, culture, or on your own? Do you play it now? Why or why not?

I grew up with a lot of Korean kids, and it was kind of their obligation to learn the violin for some reason (Jewish kids? Clarinet ... also, I don't know why). All but a few of my Korean friends played the violin at one time or another. Most of them were really good, and we had a few kids who really shined. They could play the violin with the precision of an accomplished concert player, but ... they always lacked passion. You never saw Chung Eng Wei suddenly break from some concerto in D minor to play "Orange Blossom Special," for instance. I have always felt that their talent was wasted: they were shown technique, but never passion. I have no real facts to back this up, but I have always believed that when they were on their own as adults, most never picked up an instrument again.

When I was in Sweden, I was stunned that almost all my relatives knew at least one instrument, and when they got together for some big family gathering, they would play. My cousin Mats MAKES fiddles, for goodness sake.

Now, I took trombone. I took it for one year, and it was a disaster, partly because my father insulted the band teacher by calling us, "worse than howling dogs and tin cans falling down stairs," and my band teacher hated me after that. But also, frankly, I was tone deaf, and couldn't read music quick enough to translate to the instrument. I also had the standard "year of the recorder" in grammar school, and while I did better in that, I was never taught to make my own music. In fact, as I recall, we were discouraged from doing so as "being noisy" and "fooling around."

So I am curious about the rest of you. I know of a few of you still play guitar in filk, for instance, but was your love for music from school, home, or on your own?

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