Updated to add: Jeanette, you're right ... I don't even let my kids drink out of public water fountains, so the thought of them sharing a mouthpiece on a rental instrument makes my heart stop. :)
Its a brand new instrument, on a rent-to-own basis. Kellen is the only person who plays it; he carries it to and from the school each day. Which is a bit of a hassle since we walk, but maybe the money we save on gas can go towards the saxophone ... who knew they were so expensive??? I shudder to think what bigger instruments must cost!
I'm not sure if I mentioned previously, but Kellen quit piano after a year and a half of lessons.
It liked to have killed me.
Not because I think he was any kind of prodigy, but because, as you might remember from when I blogged about it here, music was such a big part of my life growing up, and then I quit, and have regretted it ever since.
I played for seven years before quitting, and Kellen had only been at it a year and a half, but I know that at some point, at some time in the future, he will regret it too.
Typically, like thousands of parents before me, I got tired of the "practice or else!" routine. I tried reason, I tried begging, I tried demanding, I tried bribing. Nothing worked.
What bothered me even more is that Kellen actually loved playing the piano, and would have happily continued lessons as long as I would have let him .... he just balked at practicing. So I balked at paying for the lessons. Clearly, a lose-lose situation, so after several months of fussing and arguing, we agreed he could quit after the spring recital last May.
Kendrie is plugging along, but is also starting to be pretty lax about practicing, which discourages me. But again, the choice is hers --- if she wants to continue lessons, she has to do her part, which is the homework.
Last May, shortly after Kellen quit piano, he brought home the "elective" form for middle school this year. He had already filled it out with the classes he was interested in taking and needed me to sign it so he could turn it back in.
Although I have talked to the kids about my experiences in junior high and high school band, and how much I loved it, until this happened, I was still surprised to see that he had selected Beginners Band.
"Really?" I asked, "You want to take band?"
"Well, yeah," Kellen replied, "I think it would be cool to learn an instrument."
WHAT THE HELL WAS THE PIANO?????!!??
Deep down, I'll admit, I was thrilled. Maybe he really loves music, and piano just wasn't his gig. Hopefully the year and a half he took lessons will give him a wee bit of a foundation for band. If we're lucky, it will be a great group of kids, with a great director, and this will be the beginning of a wonderful, lengthy hobby/skill/talent.
Or, maybe he'll quit after one year, and all that instrument rental money will be in the toilet, who knows?
But school started, and band started, and so far, so good.
I had gone in on "Instrument Rental" night and met the director. I mentioned to him that I had played in this same school band twenty-five years ago ....
He knows my old director, the one that I loved so much.
I got excited, talking to the current director. He seems like a nice guy, and I started imagining Kellen doing the same things I did so many years ago, in the same band, and loving it as much as I did.
I imagined him practicing on the same football field, and marching in the same stadium. I imagined him having early morning practices, just like I did. I imagined him marching up and down the streets of our small town, just like I did.
Man, I LOVE living in a small town!!!!
Every day after school I ask Kellen "how was band today?" and the first two weeks of school, he had a good report every day. Then apparently the director had an illness in his family, then had some health issues himself, and missed quite a bit of school. Kellen started saying, "We had a sub" way more than I liked, and a few days were "free time" to read or visit or whatever. I understand these things happen, but I couldn't help but hope something would change. I want Kellen to love band just as much as I did ....
Then, Kellen came home last week and said, "We had a new sub today who knows a lot about music. He's going to be a sort of helper for us."
And I thought, "Oh, good! I'm glad to hear that!"
"How did it go? Did you like the helper?" I asked.
"Yeah. In fact, he said he used to teach at this school and he might know you." Kellen stated.
"He might know ME???" I asked, wondering who on earth ............
"Well, that he might know some of our parents, if any of our parents were in the band ...."
I sat for a minute, thinking ....
Aaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwww, no. HECK, no.
Yep, it was the same director who took over for my beloved director when I was in high school. The director who I was such a little obnoxious shit towards, and am ashamed to this day of how I treated him. I have not spoken to him since high school, but have oftentimes envisioned the apology I will make if I ever encounter him again.
Looks like I just might get my chance.
Man, I HATE living in a small town.