Series: Child Musicians
For children growing up around the turn of the last century, learning to play a band instrument was a challenge. Most public schools did not yet support instrumental music programs. And if the school did boast of an "orchestra", it was composed of random instrumentation (supported by piano), met irregularly, and may have been taught by a teacher with no special training in music pedagogy.
In many communities, the town band leader took it upon himself to offer instruction to children. Larger communities often organized "kid" bands comprised of young players. In many small communities, however, the kids were incorporated into the main town band right beside the adults where they had to get along as best they could.
Despite these obstacles, kids were motivated to learn to play. The band members wore fancy uniforms, carried shiny horns, and were at the center of every festive occasion in town. How could kids resist so much excitement?
As the following portraits illustrate, these children had as much pride in posing with their musical instruments as did their parents.