This blog about our cherished instruments started in January 2022 and will be updated with another post each month until we cover all of our significant instruments. We send the updates out through our monthly newsletter. If you aren’t a member of our mailing list, you can join us through the link on this page below.

APRIL 2022

 

Our History with the Flute

 

Larry

When I was a young teenager, my affinity to music was just starting to bloom. I was already playing the guitar, piano, and recorder, but I wanted more. The violin and mandolin that we had in the house didn’t really interest me (see below), so I bugged my parents to get me more instruments – I wanted a bass guitar and a flute to start out with.

 

Well, my parents were not wealthy and weren’t certain that buying these not-inexpensive instruments would be the best course of action, so they searched for a music store that rented instruments on a monthly basis. They found that Ginzburg’s on Allenby in Tel Aviv did.

 

We went down there and sat with the owner. My Dad’s Hebrew wasn’t very strong yet, but he quickly found a common language with Mr. Ginzburg – Yiddish. It wasn’t long until they were talking like old friends. And then it turned out that they practically were!

 

Mr. Ginzburg had a brother who lived in the States, and when his name was mentioned, my Dad was stunned – he was a good friend of my father’s! The man’s name – Haim Ginott. He was my Dad’s colleague and a very famous psychologist (also my Dad’s profession) and author. Dad tells a story that sometime in the 60’s Haim, who was born and raised in Israel, told my father that if my Dad didn’t take my mother to Israel, HE WOULD!

Haim (Ginzburg) Ginott

We heard from Mr. Ginzburg the sad story of their third brother, who was one of the 35 soldiers killed in the Nativ HaLamed-Hei battle. And we heard about how Haim Ginott passed away – at the young age of 51, lying with his authored books hugged to his chest and his close family standing around his bed.

 

Back to my musical aspirations. So, after all the excitement of the meeting of these two men, the conversation returned to renting instruments. As I said, I wanted to start with a bass guitar and a flute. It was decided that I would not try both simultaneously, but rather concentrate on one at a time. We rented a flute.

 

Since I basically developed my guitar and piano playing without a teacher, I decided to try to learn to play the flute on my own as well. Like with the guitar and piano, I would come home from school and practice for hours. It didn’t take long for me to be able to create sound from the flute. And I identified which keys to press to change the notes.

 

And I practiced. And practiced. And practiced.

 

One evening, while watching television, I felt this weird sensation. I could see well what was straight ahead of me, but all of my peripheral vision was going blurry, and the area that was blurry was slowly increasing in size, leaving me with a smaller and smaller field of clear vision. It took about 15 minutes, until I felt like I was looking through a pipe.

 

I told my parents, who immediately put me in the car and rushed me to the hospital. (They naturally thought it was a brain tumor of some type – scared the “you know what” out of them, I was told years later.)

For hours I went through all types of testing – brain scans, eye pressure gauging (which I did NOT like – as the doctor tried to insert this contraption into my eye, I flailed my arms, thus hurling the gauge across the room and breaking it – the doctor was not a happy camper), and more.

In the end, the conclusion they reached was that I had simply hyperventilated from blowing into the flute so much! My vision was back to normal long before the all-night testing was over.

 

I had fallen in love with the bass guitar sound from just a few notes in Simon and Garfunkel’s song, “The Only Living Boy in New York,” heard from 2:53 to 2:58, so after returning the rental flute to the store, I took a Hofner bass guitar, violin shaped, just like the kind that Paul McCartney plays. The reason they gave me that specific bass was that it has a sound box and can be played without an amplifier for practicing. I was sad when I eventually had to return the bass to the store, but understood that I didn’t really have too many opportunities to play an electric bass at the time. Today, Mindy and I have a Yamaha electric bass hanging on the wall.

 

 

 

Mindy

In the fourth grade in elementary school in Long Island, we were given the opportunity to play in the school marching band and choose the instrument that we wanted to learn. Or so we were told. I immediately chose the flute, as I had dreamed of playing the flute and piccolo from an even younger age. (I already played the piano and took voice lessons.) Thinking that my dream of playing the flute was coming true, I was crushed when the band conductor said that all the girls wanted to play the flute (save for one girl who wanted to be a drummer), and I would be playing the clarinet instead. Well! That was not my plan and it showed. That clarinet and I did not get along – at all. I would call the sound I made with it somewhere between a squeak and a screech. And not a sweet little squeak like a mouse, or the regal screech of an eagle or hawk. More like scratching your fingers on a chalk board kind of sound… you get the idea. I am not a quitter though, and when the time came for our band to have our first march down Main Street for the July 4th parade, I practiced marching back and forth in my house, screeching out playing the marches. I cannot begin to describe to you my relief when the parade was cancelled due to rain.

 

Fast forward to 2003. At that time, I had divorced my first husband and quit my office job and was looking forward to a life filled only with things I loved to do. I am a fervent believer in the power of God and conveying your thoughts and desires to the universe. God and the universe have never let me down. I communicated to the universe that I wanted to join a theater group – the next day there was a flyer for auditions for a local theater group in my postbox. I imparted to the universe that I wanted to study to be a veterinary technician and work in a veterinary clinic. I easily found a course and not far into the course I was chosen out of a large class by the instructor (Dr. Yoni Peres – son of Shimon) to work at his prestigious veterinary hospital. I conveyed to the universe that I wanted to play the flute – and the very next day there was a flyer in my postbox by a man advertising flute lessons!

 

I rented a flute and so it began. I loved learning the flute! I learned to play classical tunes, Beatles songs, and Disney film scores – anything I wanted - and most importantly, no more marching and no more screeching! But the universe had other plans for me. I had developed several herniated discs in my neck, causing numbness down my arm and hand, and the way the flute needed to be held was aggravating the condition. I returned the rental flute.

 

When Larry and I met and I told him about my love for the flute, he took me to Ginsburg where I purchased the flute we now own. Larry told me all about his father, Mr. Ginzburg, and Haim Ginott. “Haim Ginott? THE Haim Ginott??” I was so excited. I had used Dr. Ginott’s wonderful approach to parenting to raise my son and was thrilled to discover the personal family connection.

 

The flute? I don’t really play it nowadays, but I love owning it and knowing that I CAN play it whenever I choose to. Without marching. Or screeching.

 

 

Larry, continued…

You ask how my parents came to have a violin and a mandolin in the house? Well, my mother played violin from a young age (I’ve told you that her profession was a Teacher of Music Appreciation), so the violin was hers. It has since been handed down to my extremely musically talented nephew.

 

Mom got her violin from the second-hand store that her father owned. He had a bunch of them hanging on the wall. The story goes that one day, a man walked into the shop and stood in front of the violins for a while. His eyes opened wide, and he took one down from the rack, walked up to my grandfather and asked how much he wanted for it. My grandfather replied…  something like $20 in today’s money. (This happened in the 1930s.) The man put down the money, carefully placed the violin under his arm and said, “Had you asked me 10 times that amount, or 100 times that amount, I would have gladly paid it.”

 

From what my mother told me, turns out it wasn’t a Stradivarius, it wasn’t a Guarneri – but one below that. (She didn’t remember the brand, but it would probably be worth multi-millions today! 😒)

The mandolin is a funny story. When my Dad was six years old in the Bronx, he had a neighbor who played mandolin. Dad was inspired by this to also want to play the instrument. One morning, he woke up with nothing else on his mind. He drove my grandparents crazy because he wanted a mandolin NOW! They tried to tell him that it was a Sunday morning, and that the stores weren’t open, but his tantrum made it impossible to ignore him. So, being the semi-professional singer that my grandmother was, she had a friend who owned a music store. They went to him and begged him to open the store just for them on that same day!

 

It took only a month of lessons until my Dad gave up, because playing the mandolin hurt his fingers too much. He has never played since. This week, he told me that he was sorry they didn’t explain to him that he should continue and that eventually his fingers would toughen up and the pain would go away.

 

Dad’s 87-year-old mandolin now hangs on the wall at our house.

 

Musical Instrument Blog Posts:

MAY 2022

APRIL 2022

MARCH 2022

FEBRUARY 2022

JANUARY 2022

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