I started on the piano at age 10. As it happened, my piano teacher's annual recital was three months after I started my lessons, and I played a third-year piece. I figured okay, I can play piano, don't need any more lessons. I was an arrogant little snot and honestly did not understand the whole idea of taking lessons for years and years like some people do. My sister took lessons for like 10 years. After a couple months, I could read and work the pedals, so I could play the piano as far as I was concerned. So I quit.
I picked up the flute that year in school, because I wanted to learn a band instrument and it was the smallest, lightest instrument, and I knew I'd be carrying it to and from school. That was the only reason. Once again, my choices were colored by laziness and arrogance. Sitting there in 5th-grade band class every Tuesday and Thursday, I heard Mrs. Pence constantly trying to teach four instruments at once (flute, clarinet, cornet, and trombone) so I basically learned them all just listening to her. My best friend played trombone and let me borrow it sometimes, and I got pretty good. I bought a used cornet from the kid across the street and learned to play that, too. The girl down the street had a clarinet, and that was kinda different. Boehm system, so it fingers the same, but the register key kicks you up a 12th when you press it and everything shifts. Whose idea was that?
In high school, I picked up saxophone. Boehm system again, so it fingers the same, and the register key is an octave, so that made it easy. In the pit orchestra for the local theater, I told the director I could play Reed 1, which required flute, alto sax, and clarinet, so I actually had to learn to play a clarinet properly. I still hate the damned thing, but I can play it.
I don't have a great voice, but I have some range and can sing in tune, so I tried out for the madrigal singers my senior year, and actually made it. I'm naturally a baritone, but we had two basses and no tenors, so I sang tenor (badly IMO). My senior year in high school was all about music. I played piano in the jazz band, sax in the symphonic band, and clarinet in the concert band (I just wanted to see if I could do it). After school, madrigal singers. Good times.
Somewhere in there, I started playing keyboards in bands, and haven't really stopped. So I'm going on like 40 years playing in bands of one kind or another.
I wanted to be a band director, so Music Education was my first major. It made sense; I can play all the instruments. Also, my favorite teacher was my band director. Very, very cool dude. But let's just say that I and the music faculty at Michigan State University have somewhat different ideas of what constitutes a good musician. So that didn't work out.
These days I sing tenor in the church choir, lead the praise band, and play in another praise band at another church when they need me. I play keyboards and woodwinds, sing background vocals, and will sing lead vocals if no one else knows the words, but honestly I'd rather just play.
This morning, we gave the organist the day off (it's her birthday) and led the entire service. Led the hymns, did the anthem and offertory, doxology, opening and closing music, everything. It was awesome. There's me, a couple guys who can play some guitar, a guy who plays violin, and a girl who plays flute. I do all the arrangements, and we all sing. Our benediction response was a fourfold Amen, a cappella, seven voices. It was sweet. Yesterday, we played at a semi-secular thing at the church and did a set of Beatles songs, and I accompanied a guy doing a set of show tunes. That was pretty sweet, too.
Music is the best. I pretty much play music any chance I can get (in case you couldn't tell).