76 Trombones in the School Orchestra

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It’s Music in Our Schools Month and, coincidentally, my husband started teaching “orchestra” at my daughter’s preschool. It’s a volunteer gig — they already have a music teacher who comes once a week, not to mention the dance, cooking, and yoga classes. (Am I jealous of my daughter’s school day? Heck yes.)


A former band guy, he was going to go over with his guitar to sing some songs just once — sweet and simple. But he had so much fun playing for 30 three-year-olds that he asked the teachers if they could add his class to the monthly schedule. Next thing I know, he is purchasing 30 kazoos online. And what started out as singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” with backup has grown into an orchestra. The kids soon graduated from kazoos to harmonicas (or, at least some of them did; one little girl reported back that the harmonica was too hard). And last week, after a lesson on whistling and how to make music from a blade of grass, he took his trombone in, letting each kid have a turn trying to play it.


They also practiced marching and playing harmonica at the same time—I know this because I heard it happening, even though I was on the other side of the block at the time. It was that loud, and sounded a bit like the stomping of really sick elephants. I’m proud to see my husband as a wannabe conductor for the snotty-nose sect. But I’m worried about what might be coming next. Cornets? Bassoons? A drumline? I don’t think the madman will stop ‘til he gets 76 trombones, even though his students are too small to carry even a single one.

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