Saturday, January 27, 2007

The World's Greatest Plumber

My oldest boy plays the trombone. Just like his old man did. I abandoned it for electrified instruments a long time ago, but kept the nasty brass pipe in my attic. My son found it a few years ago, and was transported with the idea of it. We were pleasantly surprised that the elementary school in our town had a very good music instruction program, and sure enough, the boy brought home the news: "I'm going to play the trombone."

He's pretty good, too. It helps that the woman who runs the program, Hannah Moore, is a trombone player herself, and my boy's lessons are informed by the particular knowledge of the instrument she wields. We went to see the sixth graders play the other night, and my boy walked to the front of the stage, and played a little solo in the middle of "Night Train.' Of course the batteries in my camera had died 5 seconds before that. Oh well. The ephemeral is still important.

I wanted to show my boy someone playing the instrument in an engaging way, so he could see that it's not a dead end if he doesn't want it to be. I was once asked to play in the Westboro Symphony Orchestra, back when I still played. I sat down next to the other trombone dude. I opened the music. It had a big black bar atop the page, with a "134" atop it. It meant I was supposed to count 134 measures rest before playing. Then there was about twenty five notes. Then there was another big black bar. Classical music doesn't have much use for the trombone in general. The other trombonist said: "Do you mind counting the measures? I'm going to read." He had brought "War and Peace" to the rehearsal. I bought an electric guitar the next day.

So I scoured YouTube, trying to find something as cool as the four Scottish women playing The Stars And Stripes Forever, so my boy would know that there's a place in the world for anybody that masters his instrument. I wasn't disappointed. I found the greatest plumber on YouTube -- Nils Landgren:


Ruth Anne Adams said...

And don't forget this great trombone player.

Or this group of trombone-o-phones which seems to be the ball gunners in the fighter plane.

SippicanCottage said...

Hey Ruth Anne- I'm having desperate troubles with my internet connection, but if that's "String of Pearls" you linked to, I'm with you.

That might be one of the ten most american things in existence. Animal, mineral, vegetable, doesn't matter.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Moonlight Serenade and American Patrol.

I'm hopelessly American. Sorry, John Kerry, but that's the way I look at the world.