All In The Family...
Today, we traded Isaac's baritone from middle school for a basic Peavey guitar and amp. The baritone has been collecting dust for several years, and Isaac has been wanting a guitar for quite a while. It was time to make the deal and move on.
A bit of advice: If your middle school child wants to play a baritone in band, try to talk them out of it. A baritone is a large instrument. Isaac wasn't allowed to bring it on the bus, so practicing at home became a problem. If he was going to bring home his baritone, I had to drive him to and from school.
At school, he had to leave the baritone in the band room and that was also a problem. There wasn't a locker big enough to hold it, so the teacher was supposed to keep it in the office. That's where the mouthpiece was stolen and another time, someone stuffed kleenex deep into the tubes. And we learned eventually that his teacher was allowing a child in another class to use the instrument!
One more reason to think twice about playing the baritone is the weight and unwieldiness of the instrument. Long marches with the instrument absolutely wore out Isaac's arms and back. (He was quite small in middle school.) I have a photo of him after one year's Christmas parade. He's leaning against a wall because he hurt too much to sit down, and pain is evident on his face. As you can see, many of the memories associated with the baritone weren't too pleasant.
We advertised it in the newspaper and on Craigslist last fall and found no takers. I am thankful that it's gone at last because it had become a piece of useless clutter around here. Hopefully, the next person who owns it will find more joy in it than we did.
Isaac was thrilled about getting his guitar. It is a boxed beginner's kit, and though we didn't get a straight-across trade, we paid only a few dollars more (plus the sales tax.)
I don't know if Isaac will need guitar lessons or if he'll be able to learn to play on his own. A DVD of lessons was included in the set, and he also has a Mel Bay beginning guitar book. He's had a lot of music instruction in middle school and high school, so he's not just starting from scratch. In fact, he's taking an Advanced Music Theory class this semester. We'll see how he does, and if he seems to be getting discouraged, we'll try some lessons.
I don't know whether to be glad or sad that the amp has a earphone jack which allows Isaac to practice in private. I would like to hear what the thing sounds like, but on the other hand, I don't want to be rocked out of the house with it. I guess he'll let us listen when he's ready.