If this is my last post ever, I want to thank the person who sent the following question in via Ask the Darcy:
Darcy- do you play any musical instruments? If so, which ones? If not, do you wish you could play any? Perhaps you do play one, but there is another you want to learn? Inquiring minds want to know…
First of all, I am probably going to die because there is a hurricane outside. I live in Ohio. My cousin in Virginia, which is a place that is more logical to be hit my a hurricane, is posting things on Facebook like “This is a crappy hurricane, nothing is happening”. Meanwhile, in Ohio, I am fairly certain my house is going to blow down and we will all catch on fire and die. If that is the case, someone should publish my blog as a memoir and make some money off my death. My cat, however, will be perfectly safe because I will die throwing my body over her to save her. I am just worried about Ken all alone at the office, even though he probably has no idea anything is happening.
So – instruments. I play the piano and violin. I PLAYED the piano and violin. I was pretty good at both. I also played the trumpet. And the drums. Each of these instruments has a very pathetically sad story with it.
I shall start with the trumpet. 5th grade. We chose choir or band. I could not sing, so band it was. My friend Deanna and I both chose the trumpet because we were pretty bad ass 5th graders, and the trumpet is a hard core bad ass instrument. We both pretty much kicked ass, until I learned what stage fright is. I, somehow by the Grace of God, was first chair. Amy Benedict (HI AMY!!!) challenged me, which means she said “I can SO be first chair better than Darcy”. That was absolutely true. And thank goodness she did this, because this is when I found out I have debilitating stage fright. We were going to do a concert, and there was a trumpet solo in the song “I’ve Had the Time of My Life”. I loved that song. So I was all over the solo, which automatically went to the first and second chair trumpets. Amy “challenged” me, which meant we had to go in a room and play scales and stuff for one of the band directors. I went in, confidence overflowing, and was not able to make a single noise come out of the trumpet. I became so overcome with nerves, I was blowing air through my trumpet. So Amy got first chair, well deserved, and I did not have to wait until I was playing a solo at a concert to find out I have major performance anxiety.
Then, I went to 6th grade for half a year at an extremely small school where I was the goddess of band. Bear in mind, “band” was something you got pulled out of class to participate in, and there were about 12 people total. I came from a school that considered band a religion, and it was standard to take private lessons in your instrument as well, so I did. So I sauntered into this small tiny band, and I blew their minds. My SINGULAR moment of instrument pride came during a “band” concert where I was the only one who played what was written on the music, and everyone else stopped, and I kept going. The director pointed at me, and everyone else figured it out. “THIS IS IT!” I thought in my head. I am over my severe, debilitating, horrible performance anxiety! Following the concert, we each had a little solo to do, just us and a piano. The band teacher picked a fairly impressive classical piece for me, because damn it, I rocked that bitch when we were rehearsing together. So I get up in front of the 15-18 parents seated in the gym, ready to blow their minds with my abilities, and guess what? Air. I blew air. Not a single sound came out of my trumpet because I was once again overcome with such extreme performance anxiety that I could not form the muscles in my cheeks and lips necessary to make trumpet sounds come out of a trumpet. I blew air through the entire song.
Did that deflate me completely? No. I took up piano. And I returned to my old school and joined shop class instead of choir or band, and I came up with the idea to make a wooden piggy bank, but I was scared of all the tools, so I got the guys in the class (I was the only girl) to cut out the shapes for me. Actually, that must have happened a little later, because Deanna and I actually got promoted to the high school band when we were in 8th grade, which was a huge honor. We both went to practice and I found out about this thing called Band Camp, completely freaked out, and quit band altogether. THAT was when I joined shop class. I digress. Private piano lessons. Perfect. Private. I loved it and I did really, really well. I could play all three movements of Moonlight Sonata, and I could play them well. Then my PRIVATE piano teacher said “It’s time for a recital, and yes, you have to.” So I sat in a room the size of my bathroom and prepared to play something in front of people. I was psyched out weeks before this even happened, I was well acquainted with my “solo” history and I knew nothing good was going to come of this. I started playing….and a girl in the front row (which was about a foot away from me) started humming along. Off key and at the wrong pace. I was thrown off completely. That did not end well.
I kept playing the piano, but also decided I needed to play the violin. I loved my violin teacher because in my first lesson I came in and said “I think I figured out how to play Fiddler on the Roof”, and he said “Go for it”. So I played it, and he played right along with me, just jumped in and played, and it was *amazing*. I got good at that, too. It was about two years into that I started saying “Hey, it kind of hurts when I do this”. I was 17, and that was the start of the 10 year investigation into what the hell was wrong with my wrists. But I played until I was 24, at which point I could no longer even physically hold a violin, let alone play one. That is when I found out what Madelung’s Deformity is. (hint – it is really bad and painful and makes it so you can not do most things that require arm strength, hands, or dexterity). So no more violin. That is the one I miss the most and really, really wish I could have kept up with. I tried just holding a violin about a year ago, and my fingers would not even form the position they needed to be in because of the insane amount of pain.
Drum lessons. I went through a phase. I was 13ish. I loved the New Kids on the Block. I needed to be like Donnie Wahlberg. This is where I should have known I was “not like other girls my age”. I did not want to marry Donnie Wahlberg, I wanted to BE LIKE Donnie Wahlberg. I am not lesbionic or a cross dresser, but it never occurred to me to marry Donnie Wahlberg, just be like him. So I got my parents to buy me a drum set and I took drum lessons for about 4 months, when my drum teacher, who incidentally, was the drummer for Elvis Presley for some time and is in one of his movies, told me that maybe I should consider another instrument – one that is not dependent on being able to keep rhythm or be coordinated.
Rhythm was a problem with every instrument I played. I SOUNDED like I knew what I was doing because if I heard someone play something, even once, I was able to pick up the counts and the pauses and the beat and all that. You can not get away with that when you are playing the drums. You are kind of expected to be the one setting the beat.
Oh and one time I let my brother play his guitar with my violin bow. It was horrible. He still plays the guitar and he plays it really well. Did I mention this is my brother who is like, a black belt in Kung Fu, has done Ju Jitsu for at least 4 years and excelled at it, was a national merit finalist, scored super high on every test he ever took, is a lawyer, is skinny, is healthy, and has talent in many other areas as well? We all know who got the good genes in this family. I got the quirky jeans. It took me a long time, but I am ok with that. Oh, also, David does not get debilitating stage fright. OH even better than all of that, at one point I convinced my parents I need a REAL electric keyboard, like, you know, the kind the New Kids on the Block had. So my brother played Stairway to Heaven on his electric guitar, and he showed me what to play on my keyboard, and we were so totally awesome, dude. And then we tried him on the guitar and me on the drumset, and that did not work out well. So he sat down after having no drum lessons and me having four months of drum lessons, and played better than I ever did. But again, I am ok with all of this because my brother is awesome, so it is ok.
So there is my history with musical instruments, and the bottom line is, I would give anything to be able to play the violin again.
Just in case I do not die in a hurricane, you should always remember to Ask the Darcy.