Monday, December 20, 2010

Music and Language

My sister and I are a bit competitive in "being good at things." Well, we used to be, at least. There's still some banter back and forth, but we're both getting old enough that such things don't matter. As much.

For the most part, whatever it is we decide to pursue, I tend to pick things up more quickly than my sister. She hates it. I love it. But, like I said, we're not as competitive as we used to be.

There are, however, several things she hands-down kicks my ass at. Math being one. Yes, algebra is ridiculously easy for me, and trigonometry isn't much of a stretch. But give me a geometry or calculus proof and I guarantee I'll celebrate a few birthdays before I ever come close to figuring it out. My sister, though, will knock it out and go take a nap. Yeah, fine. I'll give her math. Since the only math I've ever really needed in life has actually been algebra - and some basic business mathematics - she can have this one.

But then there's music. There's a bit of a dichotomy with this one. I can score, arrange, and orchestrate far better than she can (I still suck, though... which means she REALLY sucks at it), but I can't play shit. A bit of piano, maybe a bit more trumpet, and the slightest modicum of saxophone and guitar.

My sister, though, can pick up an instrument like it's a toy. She doesn't have to beat a key, strum a string, or hold an embouchure very long before she just "gets it." Seriously, as one of the few talents I actually want to have, this pisses me off to no end.

Sure, I'm better at trumpet than she'll ever be, but that's only because I played for a decade and she never cared for the instrument. All I can play on piano is "Let it Be" by The Beatles, "Imagine" by John Lennon," and "Axel F" by Harold Faltermeyer. I'm currently learning "Misery" by The Beatles and I can play along with "Your Ghost" by Greg Laswell, but in the amount of time it will take me to learn these two simplistic songs, she could easily learn any concerto by any classical composer.


And then there's language. My sister is competently trilingual. English, French, Japanese. And she's making a concerted effort to pick up Spanish. Hell, even my mother is bilingual (Japanese and English) and my father spoke a bit of Turkish back in the day.

Me? Well, there's English... and American. I took formal German lessons for 3 or 4 years, formal Spanish lessons for far longer than that, lived in Korea for a year, and have been exposed to Japanese for decades. And I can't speak a lick of any.

Oddly enough, I'm a little better at reading foreign languages than my sister is, but so what? I want to speak! Me talkie-talkie! Alas, no joy. How an entire subsection of my friends thinks I'm some master foreign linguist is beyond me. What? I'm lying about it? C'mon.

Anyway... I just felt like ranting. Screw you, genetics (it is genetic, isn't it?)!


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