Jason Heath has blogged about a new brass player’s website called Brass Tax.

The new blogger has a blog entry about all those folks who say, “I played [name your instrument]” kind of thing, and how one responds to that statement. I’ve gotten that too, at church, in the pit (from folks who hang over the pit and want to yak, which can be fun sometimes. On good reed days.) and from people who are walking outside the hall when I’m leaving. I used to ask all sorts of questions like, “Oh really? What kind of oboe did you have?” or “Where did you play?” I finally realized that was silly, since most would tell me it was in junior high or, if I was lucky, high school. Sometimes I, with my sarcastic heart, want to say, “I used to have a doctor’s kit when I was in elementary school!” if the person is a doctor. Or find something similar to say to someone in another profession. But I do know when to hold my tongue. And I realize, too, that they are just trying to make a connection. They aren’t being stupid. Really. (That’s left up to me!) But in what other field would someone say a similar thing?

Okay. Enough of my silliness! Sometimes (always?) I’m such a snob. 🙁

Last night I heard the UCSC Woodwind Quintet perform. I coach them, and they are a real joy to work with. This was their first performance, and I hope they have many, many more! Bravi tutti to Daniela, Becky, Max, Sylvia and Kevin! 🙂


  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one this happens to. But it’s not just “I played [your instrument]!” What do you say to people who, when they discover you are a serious musician, say something like, “Oh, I played the piano for a year when I was seven!” or something almost entirely unrelated to your original statement of “I play the oboe”?

    It’s frustrating. And I feel like a bad person for cringing inside when I hear it.

  2. What I used to hate was when people would ask “how many instruments do you play?” I suppose, if I’d said I “played” a dozen instruments, maybe they’d have been more impressed with my flute playing.

  3. Mostly I smile, Ren, and thank them for coming to the concert. I think it’s all about listeners wanting to make a connection to performers. They are paying us, so I try very hard to be gracious.

    Bill, I’ve gotten that kind of comment as well. I just chalk that one up to ignorance, and it’s no biggie to me. It’s not worth educating folks about that. (I do sometimes explain that I’m not a doubler, and that if you look in a musical theatre pit you actually will find people who play a number of instruments.)