I can make a noise on a trumpet. Several of them, actually.
I can make a noise on a didgeridoo. A great big one.
I can also make a noise on a trombone. A funny one that sounds like falling down.
I can make a noise on a tuba, or its marching cousin, trombone.
I had several of these accomplishments verified over the weekend when I found myself at a music teacher's house. I sat for a moment in front of a drum kit and took a couple rudimentary slaps at it before I retired. There wasn't the kind of confidence there that I found in the brass instruments. I also sat and watched as two guitar teachers sat across from one another, plucking and picking with only the mildest of effort. They were able to carry on a discussion while they were making their noises. The instruments I found proficiency with were ones that required my mouth to be fully engaged. I was using my breath and vibrating lips to create the sounds that showed off my talents.
Limited though they were.
I confess I was a bit surprised by my ability to play a scale on a trumpet. Trumpet is a lead instrument, one that plays melodies. This was not my job in all the years I played the low end of the brass family through high school band. I was no Roger Bobo. Trumpet players were the cool guys. Tuba players were the odd ones. The ones who knew who Roger Bobo was.
Which was kind of the design and my choice. There aren't a lot of tuba players who volunteer for the job. Most of the people in my section were converted brass or woodwind types who were coerced into supplementing the low end of the register. These guys were slumming it, and at least one of them had no particular musical ability but was hanging around in the back row of the band room holding a Sousaphone and getting into all the home football games for free.
And now, some thirty-nine years after the fact, I can still make noise with my lungs and my flapping lips. This is perhaps not the coolest thing in the world, since there aren't a lot of parties which inspire me getting out the tuba and having the gang crowd around and sing along. It's more a matter of history and a talent I used to have.