Winds of Change
Have you ever felt frustrated by the endless banging of drums or squeaking of a violin? These and other musical sounds are not uncommon when a child or teenager is trying to master a musical instrument. In my house, the piano was the instrument of choice for my brother and sister, but I wanted to be different. I wasn't sure which instrument would be for me, so I went to the music teacher who introduced me to wind instruments. I started with the recorder.
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The recorder is a pipe which is usually made of ivory. The pipe has a series of holes which create various notes when fingers are placed in different positions covering one or more of the holes. After a year or so of a repertoire of children's songs, I was ready to try something more challenging. Of the multitude of wind instruments, I discovered one that was larger than the recorder but not overwhelmingly so.
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Once I grew accustomed to the added weight of this wind instrument, I was able to transfer my knowledge of fingering on the recorder to the euphonium. I enjoyed the powerful sound of the euphonium, but there was a part of me that had to graduate to another level of music. It was at a Canada Day parade that I realized which instrument I was destined to play.
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As I had been playing the euphonium for a few years, it seemed natural to look for another instrument in the tuba family. As soon as my eyes rested on the sousaphone, I was intrigued by it. The unique form of this tuba caught my attention; it was much larger than a euphonium and the horn had a uniquely curved horn. In my opinion, this larger wind instrument was the most exciting instrument anyone could play. I knew then that I wanted to play a sousaphone. In the weeks that followed I tried a sousaphone, loved it, and gave up the euphonium.
Not many people had ever heard of a sousaphone, and my brother and sister were impressed by the size and shape of the instrument. The neighbours, however, were less receptive to the uncommon noise they had to listen to day in and day out. Walking through the neighbourhood at night became much more interesting for them as they had to learn to identify the various sounds coming from all the families who had musical kids determined to succeed.