CONSERVATORY PARKING LOTS
Yep. I was one of those kids that took piano lessons, but that would eventually expand to include jazz saxophone and alto clarinet.
I competed in regional and state competitions throughout high school. I was never the rockstar performer as my prize-winning classmates at the Cadek Conservatory of Music, but I kicked butt when it came to music history and ear training. After a trip to France where we visited the birthplace of Frederic Chopin, I fell in love with 19th century composition.
COOL KIDS PLAY SAX
I would later pick up saxophone as a band instrument, which opened up the world of reed and woodwind instruments to me. I had wanted to play clarinet originally, but one of my buddies in sixth grade said that cool kids only play sax. I wanted to be cool, therefore and thus...alto sax it was.
That led to pep band at football games playing On Wisconsin in high school, to slinging an alto clarinet for solos in school musicals like Man of La Mancha and Camelot, to encore performances of Birdland in jazz band (which still gives me goosebumps each time I hear it). Jazz got me so energized, that I continued with it in college (albeit not very well).
THE NOISE OF THE WORLD
I continue to be fascinated by local musical instruments that I come across in my travels, from listening to guzheng in the rain in Suzhou, to receiving a road-side fiddle gifted to me from India, an erhu from a shop-closing clearance sale nearby a battery factory in Dongguan, an acoustic guitar from Atlanta, to a clay ocarina that I bought on a mountaintop in Taiwan (just like the one Link used in the Legend of Zelda!), I play multiple musical instruments just badly enough to be thoroughly noisy. I'm not skillfully proficient enough to call myself a true musician, but I'm pretty good at pretending to be one. When doves cry.