A long time ago: I took classical piano lessons as a kid. I never practiced, and faked my way through recitals. I was too shy to practice when anyone was around to hear me.

Twenty years ago: I got a beautiful electric guitar for my birthday (thanks Adam!). I took occasional lessons and jammed a bit with friends, but always played quietly, backed up others, felt too shy to solo and had no idea how to improvise.

Ten years ago: After attending Honkfest I got a marching xylophone from Adam (he’s a pretty great gifter) and joined a local open band. I did that for a bunch of years but never soloed – always too shy and still having no idea how to improvise. And kind of hating the sound of the xylophone.

Three years ago: I had a weird kidney disease that kept me isolated and sleepless for one winter. A friend loaned me his drum set and trombone. I did a bunch of banging on the drums, and figured out how to make a sound on the trombone.

Two years ago: I brought the trombone to School of Honk, and played the sound that I knew how to make (B flat). Right then, I decided that if anyone asked me to solo, I’d say yes, no matter what. Who cares? What’s the worst that’ll happen? I never imagined I’d be a trombonist – but two short years later, here I am, playing in a few bands and loving this instrument.

Music has always been a passion for me – listening listening listening to every kind of music. But I never knew I was a musician. School of Honk’s approach has been perfect for me – all learning by ear, in a joyful, supportive environment where all levels are truly welcome. I’m sticking with my rule to always say yes to soloing, so I’m learning to improvise a bit. I’m eternally grateful to School of Honk for allowing me to finally stop being too shy to play while others are listening.

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”
― Maya Angelou