It’s amazing how many memories a single object can hold. I’m not talking about a photo album and how many pictures can fit in one; I’m talking about things you grew up with, items you made memories with.
I have recently been reunited with one such object: my flute. It has been a most joyous reconnection, and one that has brought many memories flooding back. I have also been reminded of just how much I love to play my flute. It soothes me and often helps express emotions that are difficult to put in words.
My flute brings back memories of several countries, several schools, different school bands, concerts, performances, rehearsals… It doesn’t just hold memories from one place, from one moment; that’s the wonderful thing about such objects – they open up a treasure chest of memories. My flute makes me remember people I may have otherwise forgotten; it reminds me of the adrenaline and excitement of concerts; it gives me crystal clear images of all the band rooms I played in, the performance halls, the band trips… It has been a faithful and true friend for so many years, one that has never let me down and has comforted me countless times.
My flute travelled the world with me – from the Philippines to Australia, on to France, and now the U.S. – and took me through middle school, high school, college, work and now getting married. When I hold my flute I remember all the wonderful and fun times in band. The rehearsals, the laughter, the cringing when we knew how awful we sounded, the pride when we knew the music was finally sounding how it should, and the fun we had at the concerts.
I started playing the flute in 6th grade, when we had just moved to the Philippines. New country, new school, new opportunities. I chose band as an elective because I wanted to play the flute. I had played the piano for several years and I was not a fan. It’s a good thing my parents insisted I continue with piano until I played another instrument because it made the transition so much easier. But it was clear from the start that the flute and myself had a special connection. When the band teacher said it would be hard to make a sound at first, I made one right away. I was hooked. It felt right, it felt natural, and I loved it. I progressed in leaps and bounds, one year of flute outshining many years of piano.
Then I received what still remains one of the best gifts ever: my very own flute. I was so excited and happy when my dad placed that case in my hands. The ridged black case, the name etched in silver, the two buckles, now spotted with rust, the blue velvet interior…and the gleaming flute inside. I have lovingly taken care of my beautiful instrument and I still get a thrill every time I make a note. I love to clean off the smudge marks and see it still shine inside its royal blue velvet throne. It’s splendid and it’s mine. That was the thought in my mind when I first opened it, and it’s still the thought I have today.
I still play that very same flute today, and I hope to keep playing it for many years to come.
“If music be the food of love, play on…”
Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night, (Act 1, Scene 1), William Shakespeare