The Lamborghini Loaner While My Usual Clarinet is in Quarantine

This clarinet has been in my life a little over a year now. My dear sister-in-law Anna has loaned it to me; she bought it for her daughter who left it behind when she went to college. How kind and generous of them both!

I had no musical training; as a child I had chosen dance classes. With a bum knee and the heartbreak of losing my best ever dance partner I decided I wanted to try music. Once the clarinet came to me, I found a teacher, practised and have reaped many benefits

Regular practise created order in my traumatized, newly widowed life. I had to practise mindfulness, I focused, I tried something new. And I saw progress here when there felt like little progress in most of the other areas of my life. And I could laugh at myself again in a kind and loving way

But as with all things, a problem arose. A small lever, called the back octave key, was sticking. I had a trip planned to the cities and asked my teacher for a suggestion for place to repair and how long was wait, etc. She suggested I bring it over to her house and she’d take a look at it. She has taken apart and fixed many clarinets.

But the screw that needed loosening was frozen – corroded, rusted in place. So I had to take it to a repair person, and I opted for the one an hour away in River Falls.

Pam, my teacher offered me a loan! So this clarinet of hers is a real step up for me; it’s a professional. I learned on a beautiful good quality student clarinet. This reminds me of growing up driving my parents’ Karmann Ghia and Saab 96, two wonderful cars. I had to adjust to the variance in gear ratios as I shifted the manual transmission

This clarinet was more like driving a Maserati or Lamborghini – a high performance vehicle that is responsive and has beautiful, mellow, rich tone – when I actually hit a note – the fingering is quite different from what I am used to playing! I can’t imagine owning a wooden clarinet in my non-climate controlled house. But it is a delight to have the opportunity to play one

My (well, Anna’s) clarinet is in quarantine for three days and then someone will look at it, call me with an estimate and get an OK for repairs. In the meantime, I am most grateful to be able to keep playing. I have become a clarinet junkie in just over a year. Thank you, Pam, for the chance to continue practise and play such a beautiful instrument


  1. Judy I had to laugh when I read the comment about the Karmann Ghia and Saab 96. I used to carpool with your Dad up route 128 back in the early 1970’s when we worked up in Bedford and I rode in both of those cars. As I recall the Karmann was yellow, the Saab was a military green as I best could describe it. I think the Saab had a 4 speed on the column. All the while your father trying to educate me on planning my career path. At the time it used to annoy me. I was 22, just out of college, this was my first professional job and I was being bombarded with advice. In retrospect I did learn a lot from him and only appreciated it more when I had to reinvent myself many times throughout my career. Fond memories from what seems a lifetime ago as I turn 70 this month.

    • Keppers Pottery

      Ken, Good to hear from you. Yes, the Karmann Ghia was bright yellow. There were three Saabs: two dark forest green and one in the middle was light blue. I laughed at your comment as I, too, as the daughter, was often the recipient of one of those no escape advice sessions. Most were helpful; all were well intended. Now we are the ones with life experiences and the desire to help people avoid our mistakes! As I tell the recipients of my advice, “There are plenty of other mistakes to make; you don’t have to repeat mine!” And happy birthday, Ken. My parents love hearing from you. Thanks for keeping in touch with them

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