Monday, April 14, 2014

Music trumps reason

I have a new obsession. A saxophone.

In December, I went halves with my daughter on an old saxophone - a Selmer Bundy 11 - from Cash Converters (via a Trade Me auction that escalated.)

With no intention to use it myself, I wanted her to afford an entry level instrument. Her motivation was an accomplished Maori guy busking at Pack'n'Save just before Xmas. She gave him $5 (she's only 15 but has a part-time job) and he told her how easy it was to play and she should try it. That was enough. Plant a seed in her musical being and it grows.

As it transpired, she found it very hard going (and is back on the guitar as I write.)

The instrument was in need of a service. But with some training on clarinet and oboe in my early teens, the muscle memory came flooding back. Soon I could get a passable sound from it and started hunting out music, watching YouTube lessons, researching options for backing and software to transcribe chords. I got the bug.

Then, wah wah wah (as KS would say about Cunliffe's remonstrations) the semi functional sax had a catastrophic malfunction. Well, not really. But for a instrument ignoramus like me it was untacklable and heartbreaking. I had to fix it. A day without playing wasn't a day I wanted to have.

So came a restless night, difficult decision. Invest in fixing the old saxophone, buy a new student model, buy a Chinese knock-off (which are reputedly very good if you can trust the web), rent, rent-to-buy, search out another secondhand quality instrument... Total dilemma.

Only now obvious to me, in a lifelong pattern, I went economically foolhardy over music. The only things I have ever bought which I can't afford are connected to music (we currently have two pianos - one is my most valuable possession - which have been preceded by other varieties, amongst them a grand.)

For some reason circumstances conspired and I found myself at the woodwind specialists in Wellington asking for a brand new P Mauriat to be demonstrated.

Yep. That's beautiful. I'll have it. Jesus, Lindsay. I walked down Willis St wondering about this uncontrolled compulsivity.

But not once have I regretted it. I've even given up the horses to channel all disposable funds that way. Now I have a healthier addiction. Need to play.

But before I go, this was only meant to be a short intro into a story I read from the World Socialist Website tonight.

Heartwarming, but ruined with a caveat by those thicko communists cutting off their noses to spite their faces.
A New York City classical radio station recently completed a drive to collect used musical instruments that will be refurbished and distributed to music programs in the city’s public schools.
A total of 2,500 instruments were collected in the 10-day drive conducted by WQXR that ended on April 7. They included flutes, guitars, clarinets and some less common instruments, including a xylophone, a Chinese pipa, accordions and mandolins.
The number greatly exceeded the original target of 1,000 instruments. The success of the drive undoubtedly reflects strong support for cultural programs in the schools, and for the instruments getting into the hands of interested students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to learn and play...
There is some talk of the instrument drive becoming an annual event. While such a development would certainly be welcome from one point of view, any suggestion that this is an adequate substitute for full and expanded arts funding in the city’s schools, as part of the provision of quality education for the city’s working class majority, must be thoroughly rejected.


Kiwiwit said...

Great post, Lindsay. As a frustrated muso myself, I know all about the draw of musical impulse. However, it is not irrational. Music employs the same brain functions as mathematics and like maths is one of the highest expressions of human ability and rational self-interest. Collectivist societies inevitably end up destroying (or at perverting) artistic expression and are poorer for it.

Manolo said...

A nice post, indeed.

I look forward to hearing a concert from the new Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Charlie Parker, Phil Woods and Zoot Simms combined (all favourite saxophone players of mine). Good on you, Lindsy.