Monday, January 18, 2016

"Vernon Can Buy 'Em Lessons On The Clarinet..."

A couple of weeks ago in church a couple performed a musical number. She played the piano and he played the clarinet.

It was beautiful.

And it made me re-think the clarinet.

In jr. high school I played in the band. I first played trumpet then switched to baritone. I quit when I got to high school. Looking back, I probably should have continued, but I didn't. Being a brass player, I didn't think a lot about those who played instruments with reeds. Honestly, getting a sound from a little piece of wood sounded like a monumental task.

Many years ago we came across a clarinet at our local thrift store. We picked it up for $35 and spent a few more dollars getting it cleaned up. I thought maybe one of my kids might be interested in playing and if so, we wouldn't have to go buy one. Once it was refurbished, I tried playing it and found that, though tough, I could get a somewhat decent sound out of the thing. And when I hear the word "clarinet," it reminds me of the line from one of my favorite movies, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?"

I never thought that the sound a clarinet makes was particularly beautiful until I heard someone play it, someone who really knew how to play the clarinet well. Funny how hearing a master can change our perceptions. Yesterday I got out of the old instrument, assembled it and tried it again. Oh, I have a long way to go to get to the point where I would consider myself "good," but it made me happy that I was able to get that little piece of wood to make sounds.

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