Strike a Chord

…..Do you play an instrument? Is there a musical instrument whose sound you find particularly pleasing? Tell us a story about your experience or relationship with an instrument of your choice.

My parents wanted me to play an instrument but they couldn’t afford to buy a piano. I remember someone coming to the house with an accordion when I was about 8 years old and trying to get me to manipulate this big, heavy and awkward music box. I’m sure that the cost was too prohibitive, never mind that I had no interest in being an accordion player. In the end my Dad bought me a Hohner melodica.

Oh, how I disliked this thing. Image courtesy of

I didn’t like this instrument either.

When I was in grade 7, our school had a school band and everyone was welcome to participate but you had to rent your instruments. Again my parents couldn’t afford the cost of the rental. Instead I took part in the class where we learned how to play the recorder. That instrument my parents could afford. In fact I was pretty good at it. Years later, when I started teaching grade 5, I took a refresher course and started teaching my students how to play. It’s not my favourite instrument but I did take some pride in knowing I could play an instrument and pass on my limited talent to my students.

In high school I was very limited as to what elective courses I could take. As much as I loved the arts I couldn’t fit any arts programs into my curriculum. I think this is one of the reasons why I was so happy that my own children had the opportunity to attend the arts high school and they all studied a musical instrument. When our son was 10 years old he expressed an interest in the piano and we started with an old clunker and then quickly moved on to a beautiful baby grand when we realized that he had a natural gift.

Once our children reached middle school they all played instruments in the school orchestra and band. Two of them played the cello and one the saxophone and they continued to play in high school.

I think one of my favourite instruments is the guitar. I can’t play it but my husband can and over the years, off and on, he had fine tuned his skills. He started playing when he was 14 and even gave lessons at this early age. I never heard him play until he was well into his 30s and in his 40s he played with our daughter at a school recital. He’s pretty much self taught but for a couple of years he did take lessons. He’s added a couple of guitars to his collection over the years and I bought him a strum stick several years ago.

Recently he’s added a mandolin to his collection and every day I hear the sweet sounds of his new acquisition wafting up from his office in the basement.

For those of you who read my post from Saturday you might be intereste

I’ve tried to learn how to play a musical instrument on my own. I tried to play the piano and  I started to feel somewhat comfortable with it but then the piano needed tuning and I stopped. I know it’s a pretty dumb reason to stop but our children also no longer played, mostly because they had all moved out or were away at school and I guess I felt I wasn’t worthy of spending the money to have it tuned. Hmmm? Money seems to be a reoccurring theme in this post.

An instrument that I have taken an interest in lately is the ukulele. I bought my first uke some years ago when we were considering teaching it to our students. I think the one thing that put us off was that we would spend most of our time tuning it, leaving us very little time to actually play.

My love for the ukulele, however, continues and for Mother’s Day this year my husband bought me a new concert ukulele. It’s a little bit bigger and the tone is so mellow. I love it and I keep plunking away. I bought my friend, who is also the music teacher at my school, a ukulele last Christmas. We’re hoping to spend some time this summer honing our skills together.

Maybe some day we’ll form our own ukulele orchestra. LOL!

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6 thoughts on “Strike a Chord

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  3. My son just bought a Hohner melodica and he loves it. He also likes playing the harmonica, the ukelele, the guitar, the tambourine, and whatever else strikes his fancy. Our oldest daughter plays violin. Our youngest daughter is a cellist and will be starting her master’s degree in the fall in music performance. And I just realized my lifelong dream of learning to play the piano at the age of 57! They say it’s never too late. But I’m glad you finally found your instrument with the ukele!


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