The Part We Play

“One artist does not make an Orchestra.”


I read that online somewhere and it definitely rings true.  Our middle daughter took on the role of performing the bassoon in her junior high band class.  Previously she was playing clarinet, but at the end of school last year she wanted to challenge herself.  So she asked to take on a new instrument.  I wrote about it here: School Concert Band.

When I was in high school, I played the clarinet. The very same clarinet that my daughter started on when she was in grade 5. I remember practicing and playing alone in my room. I also remember that even though we had a large classroom of thirty or so musicians- there was never anything extravagant in the sections. There were flutes, clarinets, alto sax, tenor sax, trumpets, trombones and a couple people performing percussion. We were a basic high school band. Not an orchestra.  The school my children attend is willing to push for strings, brass and woodwinds that aren’t of the norm in order to achieve this.

After last summer, months of practicing commenced.  Sometimes she was eager to unpack and play.  Other times it was a bit of coaxing to get her to practice.  As any parent with a child taking a music/band class knows- practice is imperative.  But it doesn’t always sound quite right.  An instrument playing it’s part could involve merely a repetition of notes or long rests.

Over the past few months, we have heard the one part.  The bassoon has a unique sound.  Sometimes we could hear the mistakes.  Other times we were wondering why such a song piece would be chosen.  There’s nothing magical about hearing an orchestral instrument playing by itself when it’s meant to be in the ensemble.


Today we attended the performance put on by the middle school students.  Every child performing their instrument.  Every one of them proving that hard work pays off.  Together they sounded like a real orchestra.  

I’m proud of our daughter for trying a new instrument.  Half a year later and the results are amazing.  After the performance, I saw her teacher in the hall and he was saying how excellent she is at the bassoon.  That was a proud parent moment.  A moment when you realize that your child is able to take responsibility for their life and prove that they can achieve their goals.  And it doesn’t go unnoticed.

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