display | more...
In high school there were those who could sing, those who played a musical instrument, and the unskilled or unblessed who took Music Appreciation. In dog years this was a couple centuries ago, so whether such classes still exist is for others to inform.

I ended up in Music Appreciation because of football. My piano playing was cut short by a shattered elbow on a particularly gruesome play when I was 11, and my vocal chords were pretty much ruined a few years later as a result of a football game and school concert the same night.

We played the game in freezing rain and I had to literally undress in the car on the way home, run through the shower, and dress in the car on the way to the school. I sang a solo, a couple of duets, and performed the rest of the program with the choir. The next day I couldn't speak. I had laryngitis for about three weeks. Ever since, my voice can scare small children.

Music Appreciation must not have been that bad - I have no recollection of it whatsoever. An impression sticks in my mind of study hall without the study.

My real appreciation of music began with my aunt Linda, one of my mother's younger sisters. Linda was about 8 years older than me and in 1968, when I was 9, she gave me all of her Beatles albums - plus a bunch of Kinks, Turtles, Zombies, Doors, Herman's Hermits and more. These were the first records I owned. (If you don't count that 10 Little Indians 45rpm single my mom bought for me at the Salvation Army.)

Pop music became and remains an integral part of my life. I don't see Linda that often - a couple times a year at most. I don't think I've ever thanked her properly for those records, or told her how much they influenced me. I really need to do that.