In fourth grade I played the viola. In retrospect, I only really played it because I couldn’t play any of the cool instruments allotted to fifth graders. So my mother shelled out the money to rent two separate instruments two years in a row – I guess I can’t complain we never were allowed anything.
But it was when I was my movement to the band instead of orchestra that I picked up a golden tube of pure disappointment.
I’m not one for practice, at least when, and so anytime I’d pick the thing up to teach myself a thing or two my heart wasn’t in it and my “practice sessions” lasted less and less time. I didn’t really care about the damn thing to begin with and only wanted to fit in with some girl I was eyeing – that cute girl in drum line two rows behind me. When the whole band would practice together, I always kicked myself for not picking up the snare drum instead to awkwardly eye her from the same row. Fifth grade band went scooting by in quiet clumsiness and I usually just moved my hands on the keys while my peers played during concerts.
Then middle school came knocking. At Hubble, kids in band stayed after and the thirty something with a four-foot pony-tail brought a much stronger presence than my lumpy elementary band conductor did. I made it to one session. I couldn’t hold up the lie anymore. Lessons were no longer played together, where I hid my playing behind my classmates. There were deadlines and song were to be memorized. My excuses were riddled with holes, and I just didn’t care anymore. To top it off my little drummer girl was only spotted in a sea of kids on concert nights; the band, as a whole, rarely played together.
I quit, much to the chagrin of my mother – who was, unsurprisingly, upset about flushing a chunk of money on something she had pressured me take more seriously, even having a conversation before renting for another year. Was sure I wanted to play in middle school? That poor woman.