There’s always something musical instrument-ish going on in our house, largely due to the piano in the middle of the living room.
Still waiting for the day when it actually turns out to be “Moon River.”
Mid-Luna has picked up guitar all on her own. She saved her money to buy a sweet little acoustic number. She watches You Tube tutorials and teaches herself songs that I really do recognize. Some of them I even like. We’ve got “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day making the rounds these days, and “Wonderwall” by Oasis. It’s fun to hear her sing along with songs that pre-date her existence, songs from somewhere in the middle of my musical era. I figure this must be how my parents felt when they heard me keyboarding Beatles tunes when I was in my early playing days.
Not that I’ve become my parents, mind you.
Maybe more favorable to say that my kids have become me.
Rather than playing guitar like his sister, Luna, Jr.’s second instrument of choice has become the saxophone. It was a school requirement, so we could hardly say “no”, even though we tried to talk him into something quieter…like the gong. Or a machine gun. Or a jackhammer.
Apparently, those don’t even qualify as band instruments at his school.
Like every other beginning fifth-grade saxophonist he played bird squwonk for the first few weeks. Piled on top of piano and guitar, it was downright painful. I pictured the soul of Clarence Clemmons showing up in our house, shaking his head and say, “Baby, you were born to shut that damn thing up.” Practice didn’t exactly make him E Street material, but I did hear a marked improvement over time…and thankfully, the majority of practice occurs at school or while I’m out of the house. Which has the effect of fooling my simple mind into thinking that it doesn’t happen.
But in the last few weeks, a most amazing turn of events has taken place.
Now, instead of heralding the apocalypse when he plays, the boychild gathers up the giant case that houses his faux brass beast, LEGOs the thing together and gives a few test squeaks as I make an excuse to dash out of the room. I’m not halfway up the stairs when I hear…music. Not just noise, but controlled breath (mostly) and fingering accuracy (by and large) and actually musical sounds issuing forth from that sassy horn. He, too, is playing a song I recognize. Maybe not on first try…maybe not on third try. But shortly thereafter.
It’s another tune from my era.
Suddenly, I’m a high school senior again, my mullet blowing free as I contemplate a life in rock and roll (that would never happen, but it was the eighties and I was pretty stupid as you can tell by the mullet thing, so I didn’t know that yet).
“You’re getting pretty good at that, dude,” I tell him.
He smiles through his sax.
“Is this what you’re playing at the spring concert?”
He nods as he plays.
“Wow…I didn’t know ‘The Final Countdown’ could be played on a saxophone.”
He finishes up. “Yep. We’re doing this, and the theme from Harry Potter.”
He starts in, and suddenly we’re out of my generation again, but the music is still sounding like music. Not music I recognize, but still. It’s music.
So I guess what I’m saying is that all his practice is paying off in a beautiful way, and I’m glad now that we didn’t make him take up the gong.
Maybe that’s more of a high school instrument, anyway.