pocket-rocketThis is my newest toy. OK, it isn’t a toy, it is a custom made professional pocket trumpet. But to me it is a joy and a lot of fun, not unlike a toy for a musician- but it is capable of serious music for sure.

As we approach the coming school year, many parents and children will be looking at all the options for learning and fun activities this year. Of course, we sure hope that music is on that list! You will note that I did not call these activities extra-curricular, and there is good reason for that. Music is not extra-curricular.

But when it comes to music, people often wonder and ask, what instrument will be best for me? Some schools and programs even have preliminary auditions or opportunity to try an instrument, promising to tell patents and children what instrument will be best for them. We won’t do that,  and for good reason. What you choose will be your instrument, and your musical voice.

I remember clearly the day that the high school band director came to our school. He laid out all the instruments. I was excited because I knew what I wanted to play. I wanted to play the trumpet. Ever since I was little I remembered pictures of Louis Armstrong playing, and I’d heard his music. I loved that sound, the look, his voice, both on the horn and his singing voice.

Of course, at ten years old, I had no clue that my musical voice would be like, but I knew that if I was going to work at something, to practice, and to learn—it was going to be what I wanted to learn: the trumpet. The same should be true for you or your child. You should learn what you want to learn. Your child should learn what he or she wants to learn.

The teacher looked at me and my mouth (filled with braces) and told me I should pick a different instrument, because “you can’t learn the trumpet with braces.” Of course, this is untrue, and fortunately I was just a punk enough of a little guy at the time to let him know that I didn’t care and would play it anyway.

Learning trumpet was difficult. Having braces did make it a little more uncomfortable. It was never easy. I don’t think it’s easy today! But it is my instrument, my musical voice. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you come to study at the academy, or if you are somewhere else in the world reading this and considering playing an instrument, carefully consider, dream about, listen to music you like, and then choose the instrument you would like to learn first. We would be happy to speak with you about the instruments we teach at the academy and help you come to your own decision, but we won’t make one for you. It’s your instrument, and your voice.

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