This one time at band camp… (Or the physical and mental side effects of the bass clarinet)
This one time at band camp… (Or the physical and mental side effects of the bass clarinet)

          Actually, it wasn't really band camp, it was band class. Our teacher made up for over a thousand "this one time at band camps." When I walked into the classroom on the first day, my clarinet in hand, I had no idea that I would be playing a monster instrument by the end of the year. After taking my seat, it suddenly hit me- "play the bass clarinet," I argued with myself at this point. At first I wouldn't hear of it, it was out of the question. But I took heart. I pointed out to myself that I was no stranger to myself- that, in point of fact, I had been personally acquainted with myself for a good many years. This had its effect. I admitted that I had watched my musical advancement with considerable interest, and I added that I yielded to no one in admiration for my musical virtues. This was a great point indeed! I then endeavored to work on my own feelings. Eventually, after a severe struggle with myself, I reluctantly –oh most reluctantly- consented.  In other words, I was so mesmerized with my newfound freedom of being a 'teen'; I decided to do something stupid right off the bat.

         Don't ask me why I chose the bass clarinet, I really can't tell you. There are a few reasons why I think I did:

 

1. I wanted to bulk myself up by carrying that huge case home and back

2. I wanted to be late to school everyday because I couldn't get my oh-so-dainty instrument out of the van

3. I wanted to play the most exciting part in the band. I just love playing a "C" for the whole song.

4. I wanted to make enough spit so that I could attain the nickname—hurricane.

My mother was the first person to inform me that I was being not only compulsive, but also a complete idiot. I was always changing instruments, in my short time; I have played everything from the piccolo to the trombone. For a long while, I thought that I was a flute player. We spent months trying to find the right flute, and finally found a gold and silver one.  My father was just about to pay for it, when I informed him that I wanted to play the clarinet instead of the flute. And that was where I stayed- until seventh grade when I made the choice to be a bass clarinet player and join the dark side.

        

         When I first picked up the bass clarinet, and made a few, blats, I was astounded at how good I was at the bass clarinet, and proceeded to draw everyone's attention to me. I played the first note, and not only did it squeak loudly enough for the whole school to hear, but I squeaked and dropped the bass clarinet and the bell popped off. Thinking I had broken it, I proceeded to crouch down to it, tenderly picking it up and trying desperately to put it back together. To most of the class, (including my crush at the time) it looked like I was holding a baby, and crooning to it. This invoked a tidal pool of laughter, and a tidal pool of spit coming out of the bell and on to the floor. For a moment, all laughter, noise, the rotation of the earth, my heart, and life as I knew it, stopped.  We all watched as my spit sunk into the floor. Needless to say, I was humiliated.

         While we are on the topic of spit, let me tall you that not only did I make enough spit for the whole class; I did it in one minute. As a newbie to the bass clarinet- I would often drop my lips, and would propel that spit forward onto the trumpet in front of me, who also happened to be the guy I was hopelessly in love with. (Note the WAS my dearest Music Man) I also did such attractive things such as emptying my spit into his case, and on his best friends backpack. It was always entertaining to watch the spit sink into the floor. Really very, nauseating.

         Another one of the side effects from the bass clarinet, and possibly the most embarrassing was time.  Before playing this colossal giant of the musical world, I was always punctual. Yet, when you arrive at Honor band in a different college, and you are dragging that thing up and down stairs all day, your arms, back, legs, and patience all begin to wear out. A word of advice, never expect a bass clarinet player to do anything on time. At band camp, I was late for my first day; I missed half the day, and was labeled with all the other bass clarinets. (There was one teacher to every student, and there were two teachers) I was labeled "Stooped 2" while the other bass clarinet was "Stuped 1" The teachers were "I'm with the bass clarinets" and "I'm special" In addition we all had another sticker pasted to our butts saying, "I have issues, I'm a bass clarinet player." How true that last statement.

         The most fun part of playing the bass clarinet was walking home in the California sun with a bass clarinet. I just loved that. My favorite aspect of the whole ordeal. Honestly I could go on for hours. I tried attaching wheels to it and rolling it home, but some how the "masking-tape-a-skateboard-onto-the-case" didn't work. I really almost died from sheer exhaustion, and wished that I again played the piccolo.

         Even with al its faults, the bass clarinet is the best instrument to play… unless you are playing what I am this year—the TUBA.