The end of my year took an unexpected turn toward music. It started innocently enough; I wanted something to occupy myself with while I sat at my computer and pondered what to write next. My first consideration was a John Scalzi standby instrument: the ukulele.
I do most of my writing from a portable location, and that made a ukulele unpractical. Even as small as they are, they can be cumbersome to carry around.
After months of thinking on the problem and running into several dead ends (guitar, recorder, flute, trumpet) it occurred to me that I might learn to play the harmonica.
I ended up buying two different harmonicas. I bought a cheap one at a local store to play while I was waiting on the better instrument to arrive. One thing that I can tell you is that, if you really want to play one, you should invest at least $30 in a good instrument. Anything less and you are just getting a toy that is almost impossible to play.
I purchased the first harmonica on December 3, 2015 and the higher quality harmonica arrived through the mail on December 5, 2015. Now I realize that you probably don’t care when I actually purchased my harmonicas, but it is a date that I hope to remember so I can see how they have served me over time.
After I got my harmonica, my wife started talking about how she always wanted to play the piano. Granted, I had heard her say that before, but I always assumed that her desires were more along the line of I-always-wanted-to-do-that-as-a-kid-but-I-would-never-do-that-as-an-adult type of desire. Over the course of the month, I learned that she still had the desire, but she didn’t think that she would ever actually get the chance.
We purchased a portable piano keyboard and set it up so that she could play it at the house. I would love to say that it was a Christmas present, but honestly Christmas just seemed to get in my way. It took me longer to have the keyboard shipped in due to the glut of shipments around this time of year, but it finally got here. Her keyboard arrived at our local post office just before noon on December 26, 2015. I made a hasty trip to pick it up and spent the next hour assembling it.
Best. Present. Ever.
She has been playing it nonstop since I finished putting it together. When I had to go to bed, she plugged the headphones in that came with it and continued playing while I slept.
The house might be filled with “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and songs of that caliber for a while, but I can’t think of a better way to ring in the new year.