At Music, I Suck … or Used To

By Giovanna Cicalese

When I was younger, I listened to all kinds of music on the radio, mostly guided by my dad, a drummer. I played piano and honestly I wasn’t great or even good. Somehow I got to GAMP (Girard Academy Music Program). Then I picked up the bass. A Big Hulking Upright Bass. Too big for me. (I’d love to play it again though.) The next year rolled around and the too-big-bass was swapped for a trumpet thrust into my hand. I’ve been playing the trumpet for almost six years and honestly I suck, I mean really suck. Tremendous suck.

It’s funny being in GAMP, so much talent, so many singers, players, musicians. And then there’s me. I sing to the radio, I play what I have to, but I’ve got no talent. A while back I inherited a guitar from my cousin. I can’t play it. Not like some can, I’m not good. I play, and play, and play, but I know about one song and a handful of half-riffs. I’m honestly a failure at music.

Then a while back—about two years ago—I got a job. My boss, a woman who wants to involve youth in everything, bless her heart, wanted me to join her Ukulele Club. I was honestly feeling guilty about breaking a typewriter that turned out not to even be broken and so I agreed. So she lent me her ukulele, a little pink thing in a cloth sack. Tiny, tiny guitar. Only four strings. A baby of an instrument, and it sounded perfect. At first, I fiddled. It was fun to play. And then