Music. It can move you in ways nothing else can. It can bring back memories long forgotten. It can move you to tears at the most inexplicable times. It can make you drum your fingers and bop your head or completely let loose and dance like no one’s watching. But when the music is coming out of my grade 7’s trumpet or saxophone, it can make me pull moves I didn’t know I had. The muscles in my face spasm, my skin prickles with goose bumps, my shoulders come up in a desperate attempt to shelter my ears, all the while I’m grinning inanely, nodding my head frantically and saying, “Good honey. Yes, it’s very good.” I suppose if your child is a musical prodigy then this may come as a surprise to you, but to the rest of us, it is a part of parenthood we didn’t know we had signed up for. I play the piano so when my boys brought home their instruments, I joined them in their enthusiasm, picturing the family memories that would be made as we “jammed” together in the living room.
Having never played in a band, I was completely unprepared for the sick elephant or ticked off camel impressions that a trumpet can make. I had no idea that your hair literally can stand straight up off the back of your neck when air is pushed through that instrument. And there is no escaping it. They are bursting with pride as they stand in the middle of the living room and belt out the newest “song.” You simply must fake-it-till-you-make-it or you will crush them. We became creative with our reasons for why they might want to practice in their bedroom. “We might be a distraction.” “It will be a splendid surprise for us once you’ve perfected the song.” But even behind closed doors, you hear every squeak and squeal.
Our first experience was with Caleb and his saxophone. It was rough for a month but eventually ‘Three Blind Mice” or “Hot Cross Buns” was distinguishable. The trumpet…that’s another story. Day one, Drew and I looked at this thing, turning it upside down and backward, but there truly were only three buttons. How in the world do you play a whole song with only three buttons?!!! Day 30, a single clear note was finally heard and we rejoiced like he’d played a symphony. Day 100, the single note changed to a variety of notes but they jumped out at random moments, leaving the song completely unrecognizable. Day 150, Mom resorts to desperate measures and heads to the music store with an appeal to “please explain how you make music with this ruddy thing!” Day 151, supper hour has been moved from five to seven as Drew begins lessons with his newly trained instructor, aka Mom. Day 170, HALLELUJAH! Well, not quite the Hallelujah Chorus but let me tell you, we are playing a pretty mean “Oh When the Saints.” And I truly mean WE. Hats off to a 12-year-old who never gave up. Hats off to little brothers whose growling stomachs were louder than the trumpet. Hats off to an older brother who knew when to hold his tongue and not offer advice. Hats off to a husband who knew NOT to ask when dinner would be ready. Hats off to persistent moms everywhere. And hats off to the trumpet!