I began the sixth grade with an average musical experience, having played the clarinet since fourth grade. Before that there were sketchy bits of kiddy music toys, and I even took a class on the weekends for awhile during the younger grades of elementary school that taught me the basics of the violin. None of that mattered, though, when I got to middle school.
On the first day of band in sixth grade, the room seemed huge. I was overwhelmed by the number of people that would be in the band, even though there were only about half of the number of people that we have now. We just basically sat next to whomever played the same instrument, and then in alphabetical order, though later when I was in the seventh and eighth grades, we managed to get something of a chair system.
I wasn’t a very strong clarinetist, but was never among the worst, so I always managed to sit somewhere in the middle of everyone; the first or second chair clarinet of the back row. There were always at least four or five other people playing the same music that I was. The band didn’t need me. I could’ve not shown up for a concert and, sure, they would’ve cared, but they would’ve sounded the same. Maybe even better.
So I switched to oboe. I had seen the instrument before at contests in other bands and at Cazadero, a music camp, when one of my deck-mates played it. I liked the way it sounded, sort of odd and loud. Otherwise, I didn’t know much more about it. Near the end of the seventh grade, Ms. Briggs, the music director, had already bought an oboe, and only needed someone to play it. As soon as I could, I sat down with it and opened up a beginning oboe book.
I didn’t think the clarinet was very fun, and I didn’t practice very often. It was different with the oboe. Because I was the only one playing oboe in the symphonic band, I no longer had anyone to hide behind; you could hear the difference in whether or not I played. I had to practice, and I found it a lot more fun knowing that I would make a difference in the outcome of our music.
The band first began going to contests when I was in sixth grade, having only started a few years before with five people. Over the three years I’ve been in Claremont, the band has improved immensely. When I was in sixth grade, we ranked the category of Excellent. The next year we ranked in the same category, but slightly higher than before. This year was the first year that we’ve won Superior, the highest ranking you can get. We also managed to get an award for being the best group at the whole contest.
Out of everything, I’m going to miss the band the most. It was fun to improve as the band did, and be apart of its growth. The band taught me how to be independent and how to achieve goals with a group.
7 years ago