Bass Clarinet and Initiative H

Bass Clarinet

Mikey received special permission to play two instruments next year in the school band, and although he will take music class with the other 5th graders, he may do outside work with the junior high band. Like last year, for his birthday he requested from his grandparents money to go to music camp. Last year he learned the clarinet. This year, he’ll learn the bass clarinet. He brought one home on Monday to familiarize himself until he starts camp end of June. He was so excited when he got home! He opened that case with the same enthusiasm I reserve for opening a gallon of ice cream. Pure, unadulterated joy.

Red Music Stand

I’ve been looking for a music stand for Mikey for some time now. I didn’t want to spend the money on a nice wood one (they can cost several hundred dollars), but I didn’t like the look of the cheap black ones. I lucked out with Amazon and found a tomato red music stand that folds up into the size of a flute. It even comes with a carrying case! (Think cheap zippered pouch, not burl wood.) The price, $19.99, was exactly what I wanted to spend. I was afraid it was going to be some rickety cheap thing, and while he won’t ever use it to rest heavy books or files of music, it’s perfect for his needs now. I recommend it if you have a beginning band player. It comes in blue and purple, too.

I spent the night with Mikey looking at bass clarinet videos on youtube and vimeo. It’s how we found a French ensemble called Initiative H. They are a little bit of everything: jazz, big band, rock, classical, and even some sort of techno or ambient music. Mikey was amazed, and so was I. Their album doesn’t come out until October of this year, but they’ve produced a few videos. Deus Ex Machina was our favorite. It starts off slow, but midway through you figure out why a 10 year old boy (and his mom) would like it so much.

David Haudrechy – saxes, director. Ferdinand Doumerc – saxes, flute. Gaël Pautric – saxes, Bass clarinet. Nicolas Gardel, Nicolas Algans – trumpet. Olivier "Lapin" Sabatier – trombone. Lionel Segui – Bass trombone. Florent Hortal – guitar. Amaury Faye – Keyboards, piano. Julien Duthu – bass, Double Bass. Pierre Pollet – drums. Florent "Pepino" Tisseyre – percussion.

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. Robin says

    Mikey, enjoy the experience of making music, both the perfect notes and the “not quite” ones too … it’s all part of the beautiful experience of music. Play on Mikey, play on :)

  2. says

    I love his passion for music. Y’all should check out Moon Hooch.
    We saw them open for They Might Be Giants last year and have been following them since. (They even stayed the night at my brothers home on the way through Memphis a few months ago.) They mostly play sax but occasionally throw in a contrabass clarinet. I think Mikey will love it. My kids do.

  3. vginiafille says

    Have I told you that I am a professional clarinet player and teacher? The bass clarinetist in the you tube video link below is utterly amazing. In this piece he is playing with a pre-recorded track that he created from bass clarinet sounds. There is a swear word in the intro (the presenter says who in the ‘h***’ is that guy,) but you can start at 0:12 and miss it.

  4. Roseanne says

    Another site to visit is It’s a fun site for watching young adults make music. I think you two will enjoy it.

  5. says

    I had a cheap metal music stand (still have it in a box upstairs, I think) and it served me well over the years! I wish they had had more options when I was a kid – a purple stand would have been perfect for me!

  6. says

    As a music teacher, I love this post so much! Also, great find with the colored stand. It’s hard to find a good, non-expensive one outside of the normal silver fold-up kind.

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