At primary school, I learned to play recorder (along with most of my generation). I learned by descant and treble recorders, which have slightly different fingerings (or rather the same fingering produces a note which is a fifth higher on one than the other). This stood me in good stead for the clarinet, which I picked up at secondary school – this usees treble recorder type fingering in the “lower register” and descant type fingering in the “upper register”. There’s a few weirdo fingerings in between (sometimes called the “middle register”), but they weren’t hard to pick up. After that I got a tenor saxophone, which made great noises, but was way too loud to practice in the house! So now I play a wind controller…

You blow down it and it sends messages like “play a C at half breath”. Then the synthesiser picks this up and models the physics equations of whatever instrument you set it to and out comes some sound. It allows me to practise with headphones, which is good for all concerned. And to play a variety of instruments – we’re short of a bass player at church, so I often play bass guitar or cello on it. Which can be a bit of a challenge, as neither of those instruments needs lungs normally, so you tend to run out of breath quite quickly. I’m getting better at snatching breaths in between phrases.

The windcontroller I play is a Yamaha WX5, talking to 2 VL70ms, one of which has the Patchman Turbo ROM in it, which sounds much better than the default sounds.

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