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12.02.2014

Band Nerd (and a giveaway!)

I've shared before that I love music and I've been making music for my whole life, whether it's singing, playing the piano, or any of the wind instruments I've either studied or dabbled in.

Where I grew up, you had to be in 5th grade in order to join band.  I had been taking piano lessons since kindergarten, and I was a pretty good musician already.  I debated long and hard about what instrument I was going to play in 5th grade: flute or clarinet?  Ultimately, I decided to play the clarinet.  I got my clarinet the summer before 5th grade, and attended a summer workshop to help me learn how to put the instrument together, clean it, and make a sound.  On the day I got my clarinet, they also gave us the music book we'd be using in band all of 5th grade.  I was so excited when I got home from the workshop that I sat in my bedroom for the rest of the day and taught myself how to play...and I wound up playing through the entire book.  Because I picked it up so quickly, I became bored in band shortly.  My 5th grade BFF, Sammy, played the flute in band, and every so often, we would go home from school with each other on band days, and we'd trade instruments and teach each other how to play it.  Learning the flute after school was just the challenge I needed.

In 6th grade, I still loved playing the clarinet, but I really wanted to play the flute more as well, and getting to play Sammy's flute once a month or so just wasn't enough.  My parents bought me a used flute for my birthday that year, which was one of the best gifts ever.  I got a few lessons after school with my elementary band teacher, and I was lucky enough that I got to play both flute and clarinet in band during junior high.

I was one of those kids in high school who spent as much time as possible as I could in the band room.  My band teacher, Mrs. Berggren, was one of the most incredible people in my life, and I got to play in three musical ensembles on the flute (which by that time had become my "primary" instrument), clarinet, and piccolo (which I picked up in 8th grade).  As a junior in high school, I also was the teacher's assistant for the 9th grade band, so I got to lead warmups, sectionals, and even direct a couple of songs for the 9th grade band.  On top of it all, I played the flute at my church and whenever I possibly could at home.  It was not uncommon for me to play for 5-6 hours at a time on the weekends.  I know.  Total nerd alert.

The flute, for me, though, was such a passion.  I felt proud to have been self-taught and quite talented.  I loved teaching myself challenging pieces and playing in small group ensembles whenever I could.  One of the hardest things for me living in a small town right now is that there aren't any opportunities for me to play in a community band, and I miss making music with a group.  I still play my flute often in my free time, but there's something about playing in a large group of musicians that is entirely exhilarating.

Now that you know the depth and extent of my love of the flute and band in general, it should be no surprise that when I was given the opportunity to review a print from Patent Artwork that I chose the flute print!

Why yes, that is a little figurine of a girl playing the flute.  And two of mine and Kevin's engagement photos from 5 years ago!
Patent Artwork is a really cool company that creates art prints based on the original patents of products that we all use, know, and love.  A lot of research goes into the prints, from researching the patent and finding photographs of the original product.  Patent Artwork creates prints in all kinds of categories, ranging from inventions to sports to music to plants, and everything in between!  The prints are visually interesting, affordable (with prints starting at $25), and beautifully put together.  I loved reading the history of how the flute came to be...with as nerdy as I am about the instrument, I was shocked at how little I actually knew about the origins of the flute!  For instance, I learned that William Haynes, who patented this version of the flute, had a company in Boston that made his original flutes...and the company still manufactures them today!


Patent Artwork is a fantastic company that I highly recommend to you all as you do your holiday shopping!  We all have those people who are hard to shop for, right?  Perhaps you have a car fanatic in your family?  Try out this print!  What about your friend who is a teacher?  Perhaps this print would work out!  I also really like this bicycle print.

Are you liking what you're seeing?  Patent Artwork has graciously offered to giveaway one of their prints to one of my readers, so you have the opportunity to win one of these prints yourself!  You can earn one entry for each of the following things:

  • Visit Patent Artwork and leave a comment letting me know which print you'd select if you won.
  • Visit Patent Artwork's Facebook page, give it a "like," and let me know in a comment that you did so!
  • Let me know in a comment how you follow my blog.
  • Follow me on Twitter and let me know in a comment what your Twitter handle is.
  • Follow me on Instagram and let me know in a comment what your Instagram name is.
The giveaway will run through next Wednesday, December 10!  Good luck! :)

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