What did you name your instrument?

I was teaching a string quartet class during a summer camp and had referred to my instrument by name – Giovanni. The kids looked at me with a quizzical and slightly condescending expression.

“Oh come on!” I said. “Don’t look at me like that – all musicians name their instruments and I know you did too. My bass is Giovanni.”

I looked at a violinist to my left. “What’s the name of your instrument?” I asked.

Her eyes had a mix of hesitation and sheepishness. “H-Henry.” She answered quietly but firmly.

“See!!” I exclaimed. “Now the rest of you tell me your instrument’s names.”

They did. One by one they each told me their names and sometimes the story of how they came up with it. What a wonderful moment.

“We’re all musicians here and in particular string players. We’re alike and we all get it! Isn’t it great being surrounded by similar people? – All of us orchestra…” I paused…”Geeks!! I love it!”

They smiled and agreed. There was an amazing sense of relief. I saw a collective sigh and smile. They got it. They loved it. They loved being a string player and musician. They were becoming more comfortable with themselves and their identity.

One comment

  • I can honestly say that I’ve never named my bass. Of course, I’ve played only electric bass until about 5 years ago, and playing electric isn’t nearly as intimate as the upright. Time for me to think of a name.

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