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Musical Instruments I've Tried To Learn

This has got to be the most vile sounding, abrasive sound producing instrument ever designed. Look, I know, if you're extremely talented you can make a decent sound. Not a good one, just decent. However a class of 30 students squeaking and puffing their way through three blind mice on pieces of plastic with holes drilled in them is the most hideous cacophony I have ever had the displeasure of being involved in. The felines from two suburbs away came down and joined in the caterwauling that was going on that day. Elephants fled in fear. Mice committed suicide. The music teacher persisted. I think he must have been Beethoven reincarnated. You know. Deaf!
A tragic instrument that should never have been allowed to see the light of day.

This is one of the strangest instruments I ever learnt to play. Starting off on a practice chanter you quickly learn that there are only 9 notes, no sharps or flats and only one octave. Pretty damn cool, I mean how simple can this be. After learning the scale (which takes about a week of not-so-diligent practice), you plug in the drones and away you go. Although I do have to admit that 'winding up' the pipes (I've forgotten the technical term) does sound like the lament of an expiring goat, only played backwards and much, much louder. For those who do aspire to be a piper but don't want to spend the money on a set of pipes, grab a duck, shove a straw up its bum and finger its beak. You won't get the same sound as a set of highland pipes, but you'll get something that's close enough.
The world's got enough bad bagpipers.

I actually spent 5 years learning how to play this instrument. It's fun too. Pretend your 'blowing a raspberry' but with your tongue in and your cheeks not puffed out. You'll get the idea. Dizzy Gillespie is not a horn player to model yourself on. The worst part of playing the trumpet is that when you first start out, when you're not used to having something hard and cold pressed against your lips, you will end up with swollen lips. You feel like Michael Jackson before all the surgery. It's also a good way to relieve stress. Feeling a little bit pissed off with the world, go into your bedroom, shut the door and blow like the wind. Hmm, wrong metaphor, but I think you know what I'm trying to say. I haven't pulled out the horn in many, many years, but is still sits up on the shelf, just waiting for the day when I quit smoking so I can rebuild my lung capacity.

Hmmm. You're still thinking bad metaphors aren't you. Well, I started learning the organ when I was about 14 and I still have one down in the family room. The easiest part of this instrument is that regardless of how hard you strike the keys, you get the same volume not. Unlike the piano (see below), you can be pretty much a useless klutz when it comes to fingering and still get away with a decent end-result. Hmm. Organs. Fingering. It all sounds a little bit dirty, ey what.

I never really learnt how to play the piano apart from what I taught myself. I can play decently, but I'll never be a Richard Clayderman (and for that I am soooooooo glad). I can bang away and you'll get the idea of what I'm trying to play, but unless you keep your finger nails really, really short, you end up with a clacky, clacky sound (not dissimilar from a typewriter) whenever you strike the keys. Also you need to watch out for how hard you strike the keys. Hard strike, Loud sound. I never made it up to the speed of the Flight of the Bumblebee either, although after many months of practice I did get a good rendition of Eine Kliene Nacht Musik going. Unfortunately I don't have a piano. I wish I did, but I don't.

What with the organ and the piano, it was pretty damn simple to move onto the synthesizer. I still have half a dozen of them around somewhere. They haven't been out in a while, but every now and then I'll drag them out of the closet, find all the leads, plug them all in and remember why I hated carting all this crap around live for years. The cords get tangled. The earth loop makes a buzz. The various bits and pieces can never be located when you want them. The drum machine needs more plugs that I've got and the sequencer needs one more MIDI lead which I've never gotten around to buying. But, I did (and still do) have a Yamaha KX5 remote keyboard which during the 80's allowed me to ponce around on stage without being tied to the main keyboard rack. So I too, could pretend to be a wanker (which I was, and given I still own all of this stuff, still am).
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