Trumpet Player or Hostage Negotiator?

Momservation: Your kid joining Band just might be retaliation for all the times you’ve told them to be quiet.


 I try to tell myself that behind every Paul McCartney, Eddie Van Halen and Dave Grohl there was once a mother with bleeding ears.

 And so the next leg of my parenting journey reveals itself: The supporting of artistic expression by letting my kid join the school band.

Because, you know, we’re not doing nearly enough extra-curricular activities here in the Wheeler house (as evidence by World Cup Summer).

So my nine year-old daughter, Whitney – she of no fear and King Kong confidence, decides she’s going to jump on her first year of eligibility and represent in the wind instrument category in the likes of Louis Armstrong.

That’s right. Trumpet. Not cute little flute or piccolo. Not the mellow clarinet. She goes for the instrument version of herself – loud and proud. Needless to say, she is the only girl in the section.

The first night of practice was actually comical. Students were instructed to start with just the mouth piece detached from the instrument to get the hang of the technique and beginning note. The noise coming out of Whitney’s bedroom became a game of Guess That Sound:

–          A Moped in desperate need of a tune-up?

–          A swarm of bees with a stuttering problem?

–          Whoopee Cushion dying a slow death?

–          Daddy after burrito night?

Soon, you could hear Whitney had had enough with this amateur mouthpiece stuff. She wanted to get straight to the big gun. That’s when the strangled sounds of what can only be described as a cow trying to pass a gall stone screeched from her room.

Straying from the one note script, it immediately became Improv Night and Whitney was creating the sweet sound of an elephant with a sinus infection.

Oh, but it was Pied Piper music for 10 yr. old boys because it immediately drew her brother, Logan, to her room.

“Hey, Whitney, can I blow? Can I blow now?” I heard him beg.

There was some closed-door negotiations before more sounds of a moose in heat violated my ears.

Now I don’t know if Whitney will go on to be the next Wynton Marsalis, or if I’ll even survive the Beginning Band years, but I do know one thing. She could definitely have a fantastic career as a hostage negotiator.

She’s got her brother caddying her trumpet to and from school for the right to play around with it for five minutes a day. She’s also got me ready to give her anything to find a new interest.


  1. mc6pack says:

    I wonder if there was a mother behind Ozzy Osbourne? I’d suggest that he was raised by a pack of wild animals, but that would be really unfair to wild animals.

    Love all the different descriptions of the noises assaulting you. Elephant with sinus infection is my favorite.

    Did you play an instrument in school?

    Good stuff, Kelli.


    • kellimwheeler says:

      I didn’t play an instrument, so alas, I am of no help to her. However, I do have a video camera and have tried to get a funny movie of her early efforts. She has not been amused and my efforts thwarted.

      As for Ozzy Osborne, Whitney is still not quite versed in the dangers of drugs, yet she has deduced on her own that Ozzy is a cautionary tale. Says Whit, “Did that guy do drugs or something?”

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