7 Instruments I Wish I Could Play

I’ve never been overtly musical.  Sure, I like music.  I think everyone does, to an extent.  And I paid my dues in middle and high school band.  I can squawk out a few songs on a flute still, and I can carry a tune.  But I’m less than stellar at anything musical I attempt.

I have a friend who can play anything.  Give her a day or so with any sort of strange, unfamiliar instrument and she’ll be semi-proficient before you can say Mozart.  She’s ridiculously talented, and I’m jealous.

If I had that kind of talent, these are the instruments I’d play.

7. Xylophone

Say the word “xylophone.”  It’s like gymnastics for your tongue.  And how many words start with the letter “x?”  Not many.

These things aside, Xylophones are awesome.  And they make beautiful music, which should probably be more important than how cool it is to beat on giant metal tubes with mallets.

Xylophones occasionally get really nice moving parts, too.  Which was kind of sad, because our percussion section was garbage in high school and always butchered them.

6. French Horn

Played correctly, french horns are gorgeous-sounding instruments of wonderfulness.

Played incorrectly, they sound like sputtering, dying elephants.

I’ve always really liked the way french horns look.  All curled up, like some sort of intricate masterpiece.

That curvy bit looks kind of like modern art!

Credit goes to musicwithease.com

They don’t seem to get great parts consistently, though.  They’re usually playing backup for the trumpets.  Everyone is usually playing backup for the trumpets.  Darn trumpets.

5. Oboe

I have a love/hate relationship with oboes.

They have a gorgeous sound, are slightly uncommon, and are similar to clarinets, which are also fun.  Oboes are also featured in Peter and the Wolf, representing the duck, one of my favorite characters in that symphony.  (My other favorite is the bird, which was one of the reasons I played flute.)


Oboe reeds are the most bizarre playing devices I have ever seen.

These things are ridiculous.

Credit goes to curriereeds.com. They have committed the sin of using Papyrus in their company logo.

Look at those things.  Do they look like they’d be used to play an instrument to you?  More like boat oars, in my opinion.  They’d even come with handy grips so that your hands don’t get blisters as you paddle.  How thoughtful of them.

Of course, I might be prejudiced.  I tried to play an Oboe once.  Aside from the fact that my Oboe playing sounded like someone stepped on a mouse, my tongue got caught in the reed.

And I don’t mean just the tip of my tongue either.   I was caught in a painful inch of death grip by two silly pieces of wood.  One of my bandmates had to pry the wood off for me, because it hurt too badly when I touched it to yank it off myself.

But still, I want to attempt the oboe again.  It is a lovely instrument, and it is probably my fault it attacked my face.

4. Saxophone

Saxophones are just cool.  They make me think of jazz, 2o’s era bars, flappers, and feather boas.  Yes, please.

Jazz music has always been my favorite type of music to play.  It has this spunky character that makes me want to dance–even though I dance badly, and would probably hurt someone (like myself).

And all the good parts go to the saxophones.  And also the trumpets.  But trumpets get all the good parts, no matter what the style of music, so they don’t count.

3. Clarinet

Clarinets are fun little instruments.  They hum, like bees, hummingbirds, or a particularly noisy refrigerator.  But unlike all those things, clarinets can actually make some nice music–though I would probably pay money to go see a hummingbird quartet.

My aforementioned talented friend started off as a clarinet player.  I feel like I could be a decent clarinet player if I really tried.  After all, I was able to play some easy scales on one once.

2. Piano

I know this is probably on everyone’s list of “stuff I wish I could do.”   And that’s because pianos are capable of playing whole songs without another instrument to help out.

They have the best parts ever, because they can play anything.

One of my biggest regrets is quitting piano when I was a kid.  Maybe I’ll try to pick it up again now that I’ve graduated and have more free time and stuff.

1. Cello

I’m kind of torn between cellos and violins.  Both are beautiful instruments that make sexy, sexy music.  And I would only want to have to learn fingerings for one of them–they don’t get cheats like buttons or keys.

But in this case, the cello won out….probably because of this.

Cellos+leather jackets+Michael Jackson+overly dramatized settings=WIN

Cellos are also lower in pitch, which I like.  Squeaky things can get annoying.  I should know–I’ve played flute for years.  Why do we always get the high squeaky parts?   I blame the trumpets.


8 responses to “7 Instruments I Wish I Could Play

  1. i love your blog, i have it in my rss reader and always like new things coming up from it.

  2. You know, my mom asked me once when I was in elementary school if I wanted to take piano lessons. My answer was an unequivocal “no.”

    To this day, it might be my biggest regret in life. I urge you to pick up the piano again before it’s too late, because all too often, the piano only exists as an expensive piece of furniture in the homes of the wealthy. It’s time to reclaim the living room piano for music.

    And I totally played oboe from 5th grade through high school for the reason that it sounds like a duck.

  3. There’s a new piano teaching software I might invest in. It apparently teaches you through video-gaming like applications–and since I picked up guitar hero in a week in high school, I figure I could have a similar success with the piano.

    …and did you ever get attacked by a reed?

    I like ducks. Near my house there’s a pond they usually like to visit in the spring. I like the geese more, though. They’re so gorgeous, even though they’re the biggest bullies.

  4. In my clumsier moments, I’ve been known to have poor aim when taking in my read, and for something like oboe, the result isn’t too pretty – generally a cut lip and fifteen dollars down the drain. But I suppose I would be attacking it rather than the other way around. Although… every time I played, it was as if the reed was slowly trying to suffocate me.

    It’s funny you mention guitar hero. I’m a pianist(ish) and I fall flat on my face in guitar hero. I might as well be playing a wet fish.

    I’ve always found geese to be the punk teens of the waterfowl world (I’m projecting human values onto birds, I know). Ducks are like the cheerfully innocent cherubs, and geese are the awkwardly proportioned, aggressive demeanor rebellious teenagers. Meanwhile, swans are like the beautiful young mother.

  5. On a side note, I just noticed your top bar (whatever it’s called) is of canada geese. Ducks may be my favorite animal, but canada geese might be my specific type of animal. They’re the one variety of goose I place above ducks and swans in the waterfowl household.

  6. Oh wait, just kidding. It changes between geese, a cat, and a plant. Silly me.

    • My uncle is a guitar player and he says much the same thing about guitar hero. So my outlook on piano playing being similar might be just a wistful optimistic fantasy. I’m pretty sure it’s just my way of saying “it won’t be that bad! You can learn piano! I mean, sure, there’s a billion keys,but…you’ve got this!”

      I think that’s a really neat way to look at waterfowl. And swans deserve all the beauty–they have to put up with the preposterous idea that their babies (which are called cygnets, apparently–thank you, google) are ugly.

      Canada geese are my favorite waterbirds. Ever. The only birds I like more are raptors–but they lose points for being so darned hard to find. The geese are always in the same spot, so they get favorite points because I can visit whenever I like.

      It does. I couldn’t decide on just one header, so I set it to random. I’m also wondering how long it’ll be before someone finds the frog.

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