What your kid's instrument says about them
They say understanding how to play music, particularly playing an instrument, helps kids master mathematics.
I played the always sexy upright bass in middle and high school.
I can barely count.
But I can do musical mathematics.
If we are being honest about ourselves and our children-playing instruments in high school, marching in the band, or having one meet in your parents' garage-might help with that algebra quiz. But it might also tell us something else about our kids. (Unless this list offends you, in which case, OF COURSE I don't mean your kids.)
Drums + marching band = He's got a bright future in a civil war reenactment group in the fife and drum corp.
Trumpet + jazz band = Your kid hates you and your ear drums, what did you do to that kid to make him so vengeful?
Tuba + pit orchestra = He's taking his cousin to prom. Oh, relax. It's only his second cousin!
Cello + string ensemble = Scholarship ahead, and a tell-all memoir about how you pushed him too hard to succeed. Way to go, tiger mom.
Electric bass + garage band = Even if the band makes it big, it won't be named after him.
Accordion + oompa band = You make him spend his Saturday nights at Grandma Krauss' Polka Club, what did that kid do to you to make you so vengeful?
Piano + private instruction = Your family vacations at gated resorts, doesn't it, moneybags? I can barely afford a plastic recorder, never mind pianos and lessons from people not on YouTube.
Obviously, I'm joking. Kids exposed to the arts are uniquely poised to understand our culture, our humanity, in deep and meaningful ways. It's vital to their overall betterment. For example, they are better at telling jokes like, "Put the Schubert Bach in the freezer."
Stereotypes and kidding aside, the truth is that our choices say a lot about us. For instance, my choice to listen to Sandra Boynton CDs even though my kids have largely outgrown kiddie music mean that I have the sense of humor of a five-year-old. That's just my groove, baby.
If six years as the sole bassist in the school's string ensemble taught me anything, it taught me there's a group who's geekery eclipses the fabled nerdiness of the marching band. I was that group's lead dork. But being a dork has its advantages, just ask Warren Buffet, ukulele-playing, gazillionaire business magnate.