My wife and I are in agreement that playing a musical instrument is a required activity for the boys. We’ve always said that we didn’t care which one, but they needed to learn to play something.

Well, she said that.

I always said “don’t play the tuba.”

I don’t have anything against tubas, but I wanted the boys to learn an ¬†instrument that they could play outside of school, something that might give them some interesting social opportunities. Piano, guitar, violin, clarinet, saxophone… something portable and fun.

My oldest son and I even made up a silly story about it called “But Not The Tuba.”

The story starts with a boy arriving at band for the first time, ready to be tested on the different instruments. When he walks into the room, he finds it crowded with talented musicians, all playing beautifully on shiny well-kept instruments. A rusty old dented tuba sits in the corner of the room. The boy sits down at a piano and plays a flawless piece of classical music. He picks up the guitar and strums an intricate ballad. He sits at the drums and rocks out so well that everyone starts to dance.

After he’s tried all the wonderful ¬†instruments, the instructor looks at him and nods toward the corner. “You get the tuba.”

The story ends there, with the boy staring in dismay at the dented old tuba. The back inset of the book, though, shows him dancing and playing.

The other day, my son, who is going to middle school next year, went to his “instrument fitting” for band. Apparently, that’s where the band master tries the children out on each of the instruments, to see where he best fits in.

Guess what he’s going to be playing?

The tuba.

I’m sure there’s a moral in this story, somewhere.

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