So, I’m sat in the office today and not much is going on and I’m trying to think of some new hobbies that I want to try, whilst I have time between my full time job, my part time job, spending time with Jay, moving house… Yup, perfect time for a new hobby.
When I was about 8 or 9, I started playing the clarinet. I was the only one in our primary school (of 87 pupils in the whole place – seriously) who played a musical instrument. I went to music school on Saturdays,where my maths and English tutor’s son (get that?) taught me music theory and another teacher would teach me how to put my clarinet together, how to clean it, how to play scales, arpeggios and exam pieces, and my maths and English tutor would teach me the singing part of the grade exams. I was a big deal to those other 86 pupils at school and I even had a recital of ‘Beautiful Dreamer’ in the school concert – not so beautiful when I’d only been playing for about 6 months, believe me!
When I entered secondary school, everyone played musical instruments. I remember one girl in my class played about 5 instruments, all at grade 8! I was at a measly grade 2 when I got into secondary school and I had to give up Saturday music school, because the secondary school I attended had school on Saturdays, which was later abolished! But I continued music lessons at school, which was awesome because you had to schedule them during your lessons, so you could miss all the crappy lessons that you wanted and just go and play music. I don’t think I attended a single P.E. lesson all term. Yay to the fat kid!!
My parents had realised that it wasn’t only P.E. that I was missing and soon, I didn’ t have music lessons at school, but went to a lesson on Wednesday evenings at some college. They wanted me to join the Big Band and I didn’t want to; I was almost nervous that I was going to mess up the final piece and I didn’t want to put myself under all that pressure. I was a soloist.
So, I continued to learn and practise and I eventually got to Grade 4 on my lowly clarinet. I had even self taught myself the keyboard and Irish tin whistle, because of my keen interest in music, and had taught myself to accompany Dad on some songs that he knew on guitar. And then, life took over and I was more interested in boys and gossip, than learning any more about music. So I gave it up and sold my clarinet on eBay for a measly £80 – I learned later that it was worth a lot more than that.
I don’t have many regrets, but I would say that I really regret giving up the clarinet. I would love to take it up again, but wouldn’t even know where to start and I doubt I can read sheet music as well as I used to. In fact, I’d love to take up the keyboard and everything else I used to play. And I would love to learn the guitar and saxophone. My Dad bought me a Fender Stratocaster for Christmas one year and I played for a few months, but then decided to get girly and grow my nails – they don’t like guitar necks. In fact, the only song I can play properly on the guitar is mine and my Dad’s song, “Don’t Look Back In Anger” by Oasis. I started looking into having saxophone lessons a couple of years back now, but to even hire out a saxophone is a massive expense; and I would rather have my own anyway! I would completely and utterly love to play the ‘Baker Street’ saxophone rift; I am completely in love with that piece of music that if I’m on the tube and it stops at Baker Street, I start whistling it.
At the tender age of 24, am I too late to start these hobbies? I mean, I don’t have to be graded or whatever, but I would love to play each of these instruments to an acceptable level. A party piece; you know, just whip out the keyboard and have a jam or whatever.
Maybe it’s something to start up again in the near future. After we’ve moved in and the puppy has been house trained…