Happy Thanksgiving: The Instrument Stereotypes

As Thanksgiving approaches, it is only appropriate to address the wonderful phenomenon that is the band “family”.  It may sound corny, but the people in band end up being like your brothers and sisters and make school a home away from home.

The thing is, band ends up being a very dysfunctional family.  We all have biases and stereotypes about the different instrument sections.  We love to hate on the people who don’t sit next to us during indoor rehearsals (or is that just what clarinets do?).  Anyway, for my Thanksgiving post, I decided to describe what a hypothetical Thanksgiving dinner would look like if we all sat around the ole dining room table (or maybe the fold-out kids’ table, drumline).  The research below has been compiled with the help of a survey created by my friend Beth, plus, of course, my own judgments…


The trumpets are the upright grandmother at the table.  Upright Grandmother thinks–sorry, she KNOWS–that her way of living is the best way.  She yells the loudest at the table and by default, that makes her the most important.  If she has a story to tell, everyone had better listen to it.  Since she’s one of the oldest family members, of course she knows everything there is to know about anything, and you’ll just have to accept that and listen.


Funny Uncle is the family member who is always cracking jokes.  He could care less about what the other family members might think of him, and would much rather have a mashed potato-tower contest than sit still and be polite.  He can be so loud at times that he can even compete with Upright Grandmother.  Funny Uncle is usually entertaining to the other family members–until they all fall into a turkey coma and he still has enough energy to yell for seconds.

Drumline: CRAZY KID

The drumline is also known as the Crazy Kid at Thanksgiving.  You put this one at the kid’s table, but you’re not sure how he’ll react or even listen to you at all.  He could either 1. Convince all the other kids to rebel and have a food fight. 2. Mosey over to the adult table because he’s too cool for the kids’ table.  3. Sit by himself in a corner because he refuses to associate with the dorks (who actually wear normal clothes) and make up this dysfunctional family.


Lazy Grandfather will be hard-pressed to even lumber over from his arm chair to the dinner table.  Who cares if the whole family is waiting for him to start eating?  He’ll take his time because he can.  You think he cares about Crazy Kid starting a food fight?  Nope.  Sometimes Lazy Grandfather will surprise you with something weird or crazy, but normally you can expect him to disregard the protocols everyone else follows.  Upright Grandmother may be intense and demanding, but her husband just chills outside the lines.


You’re surprised Evasive Guests even showed up for Thanksgiving.  Usually they don’t participate in any family events, so it was probably just to get the free food.  The Guests keep to themselves and the people they know.  You may see them engrossed in the musical numbers of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or throwing a football around outside, but they look too much in their own, chill comfort zone to bother.  In fact, if you do bother them, they’ll probably say bad things about you between servings.  Edit: Regardless, these Guests are the most awesome people at dinner.


Gossipy Aunt has prepared ahead of time for Thanksgiving.  That means not only will she look pristine for the whole meal, but she will also have a good story to share with her seat neighbor.  Sometimes she may seem quiet at the dinner table, but at other times she’ll be ready to snap at anyone who doesn’t pass her the peas.


The Football Crowd consists of those people who won’t leave the Thanksgiving game on TV.  They are very loud and obnoxious about each play, but you’re afraid to ask them to keep it down.  The Football Crowd makes a little cult around the TV and stays there.  This is a good thing because they are all drunk and probably crazier than the kids at the kids’ table.


You can count on Concerned Cook to be the most OCD about bringing the side dish requirement.  She may be new to cooking, but she’s determined to make her stuffing casserole perfect.  While no one else completely understands the way she thinks in general, they know they can expect a hard-worked-for product–with maybe the occasional bacon thrown in.

Dancers/Twirlers: COOL COUSIN

Cool Cousin is that cousin that you only really see once a year and are sort of intimidated to talk to.  You’re pretty sure she already has a group of other good-looking cousins that she likes better.  Is she even part of the family?


Most people in the family don’t really know Distant Cousin that well.  You don’t really understand her because you never cross paths, and because of this you may think she’s from the stranger side of the family.  She lives far away and you might not even know she’s at dinner until she runs next to you and hits you with her fork.  Then you realize that if she’s running around with forks that knives could be next, and geez, this girl has the potential to be very dangerous.

Feel to agree or disagree, but THAT’S what I think a band family Thanksgiving would look like.  Enjoy your own Thanksgivings!

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12 Responses to Happy Thanksgiving: The Instrument Stereotypes

  1. Anna Costello says:

    I agree with these comments, BUT WHY NO MELLOPHONES? Do you not love us? 😦

    • Lisa says:

      Sorry about that, Anna! I completely forgot when I was writing this last night. I just added you!

      • Anna Costello says:

        No problem. People have a tendency to forget about us… probably because we’re such a weird instrument. Sorry for being “mello”dramatic about it though. I was fairly tired at the time.

        Thanks for the inclusion and awesome entry! 🙂

  2. Tiki Hut says:

    Haha, this was very entertaining, Lisa. However, I’m a little disappointed about who the clarinet section is. I’m pretty sure we’re the most awesome and everyone loves to talk to us! Except I could definitely think of one particular person who fits the exact description of “evasive guest”…

  3. Shana Ferguson says:

    Love it! Never thought of the tubas as the grandfather, but it makes perfect sense. Plus, we definitely have a “These kids have no idea how easy they have it. Back in my day…” attitude towards the rest of the band. And, of course, our backs hurt all the time, haha.

  4. David Ruczhak says:

    This is very funny… nice job.

  5. alyspins says:

    PERFECT. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  6. Pingback: Tube-y Tuesday | Take Note

  7. Miz Millis says:

    hahahaha. LOVEEE IT!!!!! 😀 😀
    Mallan 😀 😀

  8. Pingback: Tube-y Tuesday | Take Note

  9. Wizkid says:

    What would the baritone saxophone go under?

  10. Mary says:

    Hey, awesome post! But you are missing the bulk of the orchestra! What about the string instruments? The violist, the violinist, the celloist and the double bassist? Or even the harpist? Also, I’m sure the oboist is feeling left out! And, as a bassoonist, I can say that we are so commonly forgotten about that we are kind of used to it. Jeez, I feel like such a jerk, but I love all your stuff, and feel that this one needs more. 😦 sorry sorry sorry again and again. And thanks for the post!

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