Denise Sawicki | February 16, 2004
OK, this is similar to the Languages thread - I was just wondering who here plays / played a musical instrument and did you learn it as a kid or as an adult? Me, I never took music lessons and I was one of very few kids in my elementary school who was not learning an instrument.

(One time the entire band and orchestra went off to perform somewhere for a day and there were like 3 of us left and we got to play Oregon Trail on the old Apple computers - this was considered to be Great Fun - and the teacher told us not to tell the others what we did while they were gone, or they would be jealous. Well of course when they get back someone asked me what we did, and I said, "We played Oregon Trail." I never was a good liar :P )

Anyway, at this point all I can do musically is learn how to copy the occasional tune on the keyboard, using a three-finger method, and it's rather pathetic. :) I would really like to learn how to play guitar and I got a guitar about a year ago and took a little six-session night class on Beginning Guitar but it wasn't all that helpful because I can't read music! I have to stare at the little dots and lines for about 5 minutes to figure out which note it's supposed to represent, then think for about 5 minutes to figure out how to play that note on the guitar... I wish they would have used guitar tabs, because those actually tell you where to put your fingers.

The weird thing is, a couple of ladies in the class claimed that they thought it was much easier to read the musical staff than to read the guitar tabs. This is probably because they had learned how to read music in their youth. I can't help thinking it would be a lot easier for me to learn guitar now if I'd learned an instrument as a kid. Granted, I also haven't been practicing at all lately. So, does anyone think there is any hope for me? Anyone have any musical instrument - related stories they feel like sharing?

Anna Gregoline | February 16, 2004
I miss Oregon Trail!!!!

My sister was a Suzuki violin player - started as soon as she could hold a violin. She is phenomenal. Almost always first chair, etc. I started in fourth grade. Never got that good. I'd say I'm an average player, or I used to be, when I practiced all the time.

Lori Lancaster | February 16, 2004
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Lori Lancaster | February 16, 2004
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Scott Hardie | February 17, 2004
Nothing to do with musical instruments, but I gotta join the "I miss Oregon Trail!" chorus.

Denise Sawicki | February 17, 2004
Jeff's little sister has a somewhat more modern version of Oregon Trail. Jeff and I tried it once and he had spent all our money on supplies so we had to ford a river and the wagon tipped over and everybody died. :P
Anyway his sister is 15 so she's probably well outside of the target demographic of the game, as are the rest of us. I bet kids these days need something far more exciting than Oregon Trail to get their attention at school, though.

Anna Gregoline | February 17, 2004
I have the original version of Oregon Trail on my computer somewhere - however, it's not as much fun, because modern computers move the game speed along so fast that you can play a game in less than 5 minutes. It was partly the suspense of waiting for disease and theives and stuff that made it gold. Ah, oh well. We've still got Atari!!! Or, at least, I do. =)

Steve Dunn | February 20, 2004
Oregon Trail rocked.

I played trumpet from fifth grade all the way through law school and slightly beyond. The last time I played in public was at my brothers' wedding a couple of years ago. Playing music changed my life. The trumpet took me literally all over the world - I've played concerts in many countries, and more important, met almost all of my current best friends in high school and college bands and orchestras. What a wonderful thing.

I played in a cover band all through law school to make money. Great fun. I was the only person in the band under 40, so in addition to trumpet I was also responsible for lifting heavy things. It was a wonderful musical experience - the only other horn was a sax, so every note we played was "out front" - it wasn't like being in a large orchestra where you can hide.

This band, (called The Castaways, in continuous existence in NC since 1959) had a trumpet player in the 1970s who sang high harmony. Therefore, of course, every subsequent trumpet player was required to sing high harmony - you know, so no one else would have to learn a new part. So, despite the fact that I'm a natural tenor, maybe bass, I had to sing high harmonies in the Castaways. Also became proficient with the tambourine, maracas, and cowbell. And dancing. The Castaways put on a complete show. It was truly an awesome experience.

Unfortunately, trumpet isn't much fun to play alone, so I took up guitar in law school. I strum it a few times per week, but I've never devoted the effort to get good. It's a great musical outlet, though. I wish I could play keys, and I plan one day to buy a keyboard for experimentation purposes.

I can't read guitar tab for shit. It makes no sense to me at all. I think that's because I'm used to the musical staff - I can't get over thinking that notes appearing higher on the page should be higher in pitch.

I think music is very much a language, and kids have a huge advantage over adults in being able to pick it up.

Erik Bates | February 20, 2004
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Derek Sutcliffe | February 20, 2004
well i play guitar and i learned it just recently like i started when i was 17 im almost 19 now and like im all self taught, no lessons. but i disagree i dont think that kids really have an advantage its just the dedication, if you have the desire to learn you will learn if you are being forced upon it then you never will, like i know alot of lil ones like my bro, he cant play for anything and he's had lessons and will probally never learn guitar but thats just not his thing

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