Instrumental by Aramis Zepeda

According to Kat’s mother, half the show was in the glossiness of the saxophone. You know, the attention is in the music, but the applause was in how the light reflected off the golden surface. Kat, however, found this utterly ridiculous. How could a musical instrument’s look be more important than how it sounded or the skill of the player?

“Well, you have to remember, there’s a particular reason the saxophone is one of the most popular instruments in the world, and not as attractive as less those other uglier instruments, like the guitar or piano. Who wants to look at those chunky blocks of deceased tree when you can look at the sleekness and smooth reflection of a saxophone? Very few in the world.”

“Where exactly are you getting that information?” Kat responded annoyedly, certain it had been secured into her mother’s brain without proper research.

“It’s not exactly a secret, sweetheart!” her mother responded, brushing her off.

“No, really, what’s your source? Who told you the saxophone is the most popular instrument in the world?”

Her mother turned from her phone to look at Kat with a slight glare, as if saying ‘don’t question me,’ and responded-

“All of the world’s most successful musicians play the saxophone,” she paused and her glare shifted away (Kat’s look of disbelief remained), and after a few seconds she continued, “When I was younger, I used to play the banjo. My parents, of course, told me I was being ridiculous, and occasionally my siblings would also show their disdain for my poor choice of musical instruments. When I was working on the Instrumentalis Stationalis- which may I say is one of the most important enterprises in the world- I almost lost my job for playing the banjo, several times. After a while, I of course switched to the flute, which was one of the big ones back in the day. Looking back on it now, the whole banjo ordeal makes me so embarrassed!”

Her mother paused to see the effect of this story on Kat, but Kat continued to wear a look of serious frustration, to which her mother’s glare returned- “But it seems the youth needs to experience this for themselves before trusting their elders.”

 

“Look at this mom,” Kat turned her phone toward her mother to show her a picture of a middle-aged man passionately playing a violin, and a cheering crowd at his feet, “this guy, Guy Mish, is one of the biggest up and coming artists of today. At school all the students and teachers are talking about him, and even the teachers praise him.”

“For the love of god, he may have skill but do you see that disgusting violin? Who would want to look at that? Ugh-”

“What are you talking about? He’s huge! The teachers even arranged to have him visit at the end of the year-”

“Well honey, he may be popular at your school, but I’ve never heard of him before? It’s not exactly like he’s known world-wide. And I mean, honestly, he looks disgusting with that thing in his hand. I’m done with this right now.”

Her mom shook her hands in front of and made a face of disgust before standing up and going to the kitchen.

 

Kat breathed deeply in and out, before climbing up the stairs and walking into her parent’s room with her phone in hand. She stood next to her mother and waited for commercials to come on before her mother turned to her and asked, “What’s up sweetie?”

“Well, I wanted to show you this,” Kat handed her mother her phone, which had an image of Reynold Charlton, a historic  drummer she had learned about in musical history class, in the middle of a concert with his band- The Charlton Supremes.

“Okay? What’s this about?”

“Well, this is in Reynold Charlton, I learned about him at school, but, actually, he is one of the most important musicians in history and to this day. The name might sound familiar because he runs Charlton’s, where we get all of our instruments, a chain which has been open since the 1950’s, and has opened in over 40 countries around the world since then, and in all of the states. And he plays the drums.” Kat was certain that she had finally proven her point this time, so she stood silently as her mother inspected the image, looking like there was a terrible smell emanating from the phone.

After a minute, her mother responded, “His taste in instruments is entirely terrible. I’m sure he only became famous and successful for some other reason, because he is definitely is not following the rules of what an instrument should look like. Anyway, once you’re so successful, THEN you can go insane and have instruments in such bad taste.”

Behind calm lips, Kat clenched her teeth, politely took back her phone, slowly shook her head, and waited a couple of second before walking away.

“If you had showed me some smaller important artist, then maybe,” her mother called from afar, noting Kat’s offense, and feeling slightly guilty for making her feel offended, but the statement only annoyed Kat further.

“Don’t worry about it mom, it’s okay,” Kat said politely as she walked into her room, and closed the door.

Once the door was closed, Kat jumped into her bed and groaned into her pillow. She hated the saxophone. She would say she ‘strongly disliked’ it, as she disliked the word hate, but in truth she hated it. She hated the sound. She hated the self-glorifying people who tended to play it. She hated how they, similarly to her mother, put down musicians who played other instruments, for such a ridiculous reason- because the other instruments were ‘ugly.’ Kat knew this was no fact, but an opinion, heavily affirmed throughout history in no other fashion than opinion, and not even popular opinion. Just ‘elite’ opinion.
“Ridiculous,” Kat shook her head, and buried her head in a copy of “Music Through the Ages,” and continued reading a little section of violas.


Hi kids!

I hope everything is going well. By the way, the events of this story are entirely fictional, there is no prejudicial league of saxophone players in real life that I know of, I think saxophone players pretty great in reality. Thanks for reading!

Sincerely,

Aramis Z.

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