The plastic trombone
IN all my dreams about what musical instruments the children might take up, I can honestly say that the trombone never featured. I was, therefore, almost speechless when one arrived at home late last year. To compound my astonishment, it was made of bronzed plastic rather than brass; it just seemed wrong. Since that time, it has made a nuisance of itself, being bulky enough to clutter up the house, but nevertheless regularly forgotten in the morning rush before music classes. Nor have weeks of listening to slightly tuneless raspberries, often practiced at extremely inconvenient times, reconciled me to it.
I have, however, just undergone a Damascene conversion. I managed to fit in a school-lunchtime concert at the Southbank Centre. Five children’s orchestras performed a mixed programme in the main foyer. The sheer enthusiasm with which the various teachers conducted—almost palpably imposing time and pitch when either began to waver—was a delight to watch. So too was the concentration of the children. At the end, musicians and audience seemed equally elated.
My resolve will be tested when the raspberries resume, but it made me realise what a force for good this plastic trombone actually is. JG