There’s a strange and somewhat disturbing sound coming from the Hoffmann household at the moment. A sound that is causing the dog to disappear, a sound that is making my
wife and daughter laugh, a blowing kind of sound!As I was outed in Bath recently carrying a rather large black box that was mistaken for a camera case, I had to own up that it contained a saxophone. Yes I am learning to play the sax, learning that is, not actually playing (yet).
The last time I tried to learn to play a musical instrument was the piano when I was a very small boy, taught by a fierce lady who I’m sure wore a brown uniform and wielded some weapon (probably a metronome).
OK that last bit might be a bit of imagination, but all the same it is a terrifying memory. Something seems to happen to men when they reach 50.
We either need to have a new fast car, or play an instrument, and in my case the sax because it looks so cool. Not that it makes me look cool, nor in fact do I make it soundcool, but it does look cool
. Someone very kindly gave me two free lessons with a chap in Bath who really is cool and has enormous patience and is very encouraging.
Frequently I hear in my mind those famous words of Churchill, ‘Never give up’ but there is so much temptation, especially as I also hear the words of my ancient brown-uniform wearing-piano-teacher shouting at me, ‘You really are useless.’ I meet many people my age who were put off learning to play an instrument, as well as painting, and even learning a language through lack of encouragement.
My sax teacher is so encouraging, even sending me little text messages telling me how well I am doing. I ought to call him Barnabas who’s name in the bible means, ‘son of encouragement.’ My old piano teacher was certainly no Mrs Barnabas, more of a Ms Trunchbull!
With encouragement there is so much that we can achieve, whatever that may be, even playing an instrument. In fact we all need to be encouraged in life generally, as there is so much to discourage us. We all need to have a little bit of Barnabas in us to encourage each other.
So whatever new thing you are trying out, be encouraged, you can do it. Listen again to the words of Churchill, ‘Never give up’ and banish from your minds the voice of the oldbrown-shirt-wearing………..