I come from sort of a “grassroots” type of family when it comes to musical ability. My parents never forced my brothers and I to play an instrument or sing when we were growing up like their parents did for them. My dad played double bass through high school, and my mom had a piano-playing stint during her youth as well.
When I turned 11 years old, I finally convinced my parents that I wanted to play an instrument. My brothers played guitar at that time, and being the youngest, I’m assuming I felt slighted being the only one in the family instrument-less.
I don’t really remember how, but I decided that the flute was the instrument for me. I wish I would have known back then about all the lowbrow humor that comes with playing the flute—“Pfister the flute player,”— my parents should have stepped in at this point and led me toward some other hobby, but it was probably their sweet revenge after forking out $800 for an 11-year-old’s amusement.
Anyways, I took lessons once a week from some college student at World of Music who taught me the basics, but I stopped going when I was 13 or 14 years old. Meanwhile, my brothers taught themselves how to play chords and tabs. It was interesting to watch them learn how to play guitar. While Stephen, the oldest, finger picked and plucked up and down the neck of his acoustic, David would rattle the house with Blink 182 power chords on his electric guitar through a Marshall half stack amplifier. It was irritating to practice my flute when the sounds of distorted chords reverberated throughout the entire second floor for hours at a time, but I couldn’t help but be impressed with my brother.
David ended up taking lessons and became even better than what he was on his own. I remember how I’d beg him to teach me how to play something, anything, on the guitar, so he taught me “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes and “Come as You Are” by Nirvana. After that, I was hooked. When I was a sophomore in high school, I started taking my flute playing more seriously in the orchestra and also started playing violin, another lovely gift from my parents. I took lessons after school at Mercyhurst College and started playing in the Greater Erie Youth Orchestra. While doing that, I signed up for a guitar elective class at school and began to learn how to play, which was fairly simple since I could already read music and play violin. David was definitely an inspiration, and he continues to be for me and I’m sure many others. I remember how his face lit up when he got his first Fender as a Christmas gift, and he still gets that same glow and excitement with each new guitar. Watching him grow into a polished musician has been an incredible experience. He plays guitar in The Romantic Era, and when I see him having the time of his life performing on stage, I can’t help but be a proud little sister and his biggest fan.
Music was one thing in our lives that our parents never pushed us to be good at; it was something we were able to make our own and take what we wanted out of it. I pushed myself to be the best I could be in my high school’s orchestra, and it showed at every school Mass and musical. David logged hundred of hours practicing, and now he’s in a band that really has the potential to make it big. I’ll be in the front at every show, waiting with my flute for a guest solo I know everyone would want to hear.by