“Horn playing is easy – you just take a big breath and pucker your lips and put your whole life through the horn.”
She said it when she was six years old. She wanted to see what playing the horn was like, so I held the horn up and gave her some basic instructions and she made a mighty blast and then cooly summed up the experience with that quote. When it was time to join the band in the fifth grade, she chose the horn. But she also chose not to study it – take lessons (except for the intro band director lessons). She just likes playing in band. And that’s OK with me. I am fine with her having a musical experience of her own choosing on her own terms that she enjoys. I’ve had a very special time with her since the end of May – mom is in Italy for five weeks leading an opera workshop. I had to give up being on the faculty of the Kendall Betts Horn Camp this June, which I miss very much, but this time has turned out to be a terrific (and mostly likely last) chance to get to know my daughter better one on one. She has never had much interest or knowledge about what I do exactly at work, but a couple days ago she asked to see this horn blog (since she started a blog of her own a couple weeks ago as a way to keep mom informed about current events here). She had a look, and then asked if she could write an entry. With a modicum of trepidation but no hesitation I said, “Sure. If it’s appropriate and I reserve the right to edit (everyone needs a good editor).” That night she sent me the following, her statement on what playing the horn means to her plus a short history of her experiences in elementary and junior high band. I present it to you with no editing. It doesn’t need it; it’s more important to let the unique flavor of her speech, ideas, and passion come through than to correct spelling and grammar. It’s the best Father’s Day present ever.
Confessions of a Reluctant Horner