When asked the simple question:
Which instruments do you play, Ig?
I gave the answer...
Recorder (C and F), flute, guitar, keyboards, and a bit of teh drums. And I have a three octave vocal range.
But I couldn't just stop there. Not when I was given the chance, like Dr. Heinz Doofenschmirtz, to tell another emotionally scarring backstory.
As is the case with every child receiving a public school education in the People's Socialist Communist Republic of New York, I played the recorder in third grade. It's just a standard part of the music curriculum for that year, and I loved it.
Fourth grade came along and I was told that the instrumental music program was available to us and I could select an instrument and play in the band too. Naturally I said that I wanted to continue playing the recorder. And of course I was told that the recorder was not a band instrument and I would have to select something else.
And here's where it all went wrong. Mr. Salingo, the instrumental music teacher at the school, confidently told me that if I liked playing the recorder, I would like playing the clarinet.
I. HATED. IT.
I hated playing it, I hated practicing, to the point where I would deliberately break the reeds to prematurely end practice sessions ... at one point I started making tape recordings of myself practicing so I could play them back the next day behind a closed door, which worked great until my stupid bitch sister ratted me out.
So, one must ask, why did Mr. Salingo offer me a painful clarinet experience when he knew that a concert flute plays in the same key as a recorder, in the same register as a recorder, with almost exactly the same fingerings as a recorder? The only answer I can imagine is that he had it in his mind that the flute is a "girl's instrument." So I played the clarinet for a year and gave up on it, and missed out on what would have been some very cool band experiences in high school.
My stupid bitch sister, when she reached fourth grade, played the flute for a year, and gave up on it because band was just not her thing. But for some reason, the instrument found its way into our attic instead of back to the school or rental place or wherever it came from.
In college I picked up the recorder again and played with some very cool people in an ensemble. It was a lot of fun. We played in on-campus events and around the community as well. The instructor for the group was Professor Charles Scanzello, one of an extremely small number of people I can truly call mentors. He was scatter brained and disorganized, but he poured his love for music and community into everything he did. He was the one who encouraged me to pick up the F fingerings, which enabled me to play sopranino and alto recorders.
All this time, most of my friends were band people, mainly because my best friend was/is a guy who stuck with the band program and he was also the one through whom I met most of my other friends. I had longed to play in the band all that time. So one day I remembered hearing at one point that the fingerings for a C recorder and a concert flute were almost identical, and I remembered that my stupid bitch sister's old flute was still in the attic. That summer I went home and taught myself how to play the flute.
The next fall I returned to campus and joined the marching band. And yes, I was the only male flutist in the band. Imagine that: just me, and a bunch of cute co-eds. And they were all my type. In fact, I ended up marrying one of them. So it's an emotionally scarring backstory, but one that eventually has a happy ending. I do hope that Mr. Salingo is retired by now and not foisting his agenda on another generation of children. To this day, however, I hate clarinets. I hate everything about them.