I tuned a tympani!

Well this was certainly exciting!

Since I didn’t get to take any methods courses in my program (where you learn to play all of the instruments), I don’t have a blessed clue how to play a few different instruments. I decided this week that to change that, whenever I’m not conducting, I will play one of percussion parts, seeing as there are only 3 percussionists in Symphonic Band. I decided to pick up the tympani part for the band’s medley based on the Lion King.

To tune the tympani, you use your foot to push the top or the bottom of a pedal that is attached to the drum. To raise the pitch, you push your toe down, and to lower it, you push your heel down. There’s a little switch that helps to give you an idea of where each pitch is. However, you have to rely on your ear/pitch pipe to help you fine tune the pitch.


Unfortunately, I didn’t snap a picture of me working with the tympani, but maybe I will in the future.

I also played the gong and tambourine in another piece. A student made fun of the stance I was in to play it (I basically stuck my butt out and crouched down in front of it). Meh!!! I was having fun. I also learned that “ch” at the end of a piece means “choke,” (aka MUFFLE IT!). I learned this one the hard way….the piece had ended and I just let the gong ring. The entire band turned around to face me. Whoops! Playing in percussion-land is pretty awesome!

Other notable firsts:

* I had never had a chocolate fortune cookie! I thought it was burned at first, so I was pleasantly surprised when I bit into it. Delicious. I ate this at Bamboo Grove in Windsor, which I had also never been to.

fortune cookie

* I had never slept over Karla’s house. It was AWESOME! She was so helpful and boosted my spirits. Her husband and kids are also awesome, as well. Here are her two adorable kids hanging out in my shoes before I left the next morning.


* I had never seen the Wizard of Oz done on stage before. Dante and I went to watch it because a few of his students were in the performance. To that end, I had never known Toto was a girl before! Who knew?!

* I had never taken a selfie with Dante before. It came out great! 🙂

Dante selfie

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