RonO (rono_60103) wrote,

Musical Aspirations

For some time, I’ve had some thoughts about learning a new instrument.

Off and on from the 4th grade through college, I played Alto Sax in various bands.  (I ended up dropping band the last year at each school: part way through my 5th and 8th grade years, moving from Marching/Symphonic Band to Concert Band my 11th grade year, and then no band class at all my 12th grade year, being unable to schedule Marching Band during the fall semester of my 5th and final year at UNM; and was only in the “zoo” band during one spring semester during those same 5 years).  After leaving school, I pulled out my sax on rarer and rarer occasions, and finally sent it home with my sister, brother-in-law and The Albuquerque Boy Choir a couple of years ago – after The Boy Choir tour took them to San Diego – so that they could donate it to Hummingbird Music Camp.  (I presume that it has been played more over the last couple of years than it had over the preceding 20).

However, I keep looking at other instruments that I might be able to use in more social situations (and potentially in worship – but that is much less likely).  The ones that most appeal to me include guitar, autoharp and some forms of drum.

Guitar has some appeal because it is fairly flexible, and classes are fairly available both from specialized sources and places like community colleges.  Learning on an electric has an added appeal that I could use one of the amps that feed into headphones, so that I could practice without disturbing anyone else.  On the other hand, decent guitars aren’t super-cheap (I’m seeing prices in the $100-$500 range for recommended begineer models), and they aren’t trivial to learn, making me more concerned about getting frustrated early on and quitting.

Autoharps aren’t as common as they were years ago, but they seem to be a fairly easy to learn option, at least for playing chords.  On the other hand, they are even more expensive than a guitar, harder to tune (more strings), and not offer as many options beyond chords.

I’ve not always been a fan of drums – largely a bias that comes from the personality of a lot of the kids who play drums in middle school, high school and college band – or at least traditional drums (snare, trap-set, etc.).  However, I’ve been specifically thinking about the Bodhran since I appreciate how it works in much of my favorite music.  Some form of hand drum (conga or the like) has some appeal since I already find myself slapping out beats on my legs, chair, and the like when listening to music – so I may already have some ability with those kind of drums.

However, both time and money aren’t in infinite supply and I have a fair amount eating both these days.  As frustrating as this is, it probably limits or delays how soon I could actually make a serious commitment to learning a new instrument.

Also, it is becoming clear that I will soon have to transition from walks 4 days a week and an hour with the personal trainer one day a week, to something – probably Taekwondo, since there is a close-by school that looks good – to give me a more regular and intense workout.  This will further eat into both my time and money supply (unless it ends up less per week than the personal trainer).

But, I’m still thinking and won’t turn down any suggestions both for instruments to learn, ways to acquire one easily, and how to learn to master (or at least become a competent apprentice) them

Originally published at RonO's Random Ramblings


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