New York Years - Flute Lessons


In the spring of my fourth grade year, we were given a notice that the school would be offering affordable music lessons during the summer.

We went to the local music store, where the owner demonstrated a variety of instruments. He played "Stars and Stripes" on the trumpet and "When the Saints Go Marching In" on the saxophone. I liked the sound of the saxophone and decided I wanted to learn how to play it.


I was barely 4 feet tall. My short fingers couldn't reach from one key to the other. I couldn't even hold it off the floor while sitting on a chair. The saxophone wasn't the one for me.


We went back to the music store. The owner found a smaller instrument-a piccolo. He played "Yankee Doodle" on it and persuaded me that it was a better fit for me.


He said I needed to learn the flute first. So, we rented a Gemeinhardt flute for $5/week. When we had paid $85, we could decide if I wanted to own the flute. We did, and I still have the same flute today. It was still a little big for my arms and fingers, but it was manageable.

(If I can find a picture of me, I'll insert it here.)

Each Monday, my friend, Penny Williams, and I went to the school for flute lessons with Miss Judith Spinelli. She was so pretty and played the flute, trilling like a bird.

Once she was playing "Moon River" on the piano when we arrived. She sang it for us. I thought it such a lonesome song...loved it! She said it was her and her fiance's song. I didn't know what that meant, but realized it was something romantic and beautiful.

That was the beginning of some wonderful experiences for me. By the next year, I was chosen to participate in a regional concert. (I still have the phonograph record of it.) I loved being in the band. I loved my music teachers and band directors. They opened a new and wonderful world to me.

I still get my flute out, usually at Christmas time. It's not as easy. It takes a lot of wind. One music director told us that it takes as much breath as a tuba, because half of our air goes over the mouthpiece.

I'm very thankful my parents let me take flute lessons. It has given me many wonderful memories, and you will see that flute appear in more of these stories.

1 comment:

Hoomi said...

You should play it more often. I just wish I'd started learning when I was much younger, and my fingers more responsive.


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