"We had been quiet for a while, enjoying the piñon country of New Mexico, when I blurted out, 'Here’s an idea…."

At the age of seventy-six, the author, feeling the need for a project, finds inspiration while driving from Tucson to his home in Colorado. “Suddenly, without warning, it came to me in a rush, completely formed, amidst that desolate New Mexico landscape: I would play all the instruments in the orchestra.” This begins his journey to take lessons in eleven instruments of the orchestra and become competent in each. He would attempt to take twelve lessons on each chosen instrument, with the goal being to “play excerpts from the classical music repertory with a high degree of fluency, tone, and interpretation, in a reasonably listenable fashion.” Each instrument is allotted a chapter in which the author relays its history and his progress in achieving his goal. With three months given to each instrument, the book takes almost three years to complete and encompasses his experience with each instrument and its procured teacher.

This brief but delightful book is filled with historical and musical information. Mitchell has a knack for descriptive writing, and his voice invites readers to travel with him through this interesting journey. The fact that he has little musical experience adds to the reader’s enjoyment as one feels as if he/she could also accomplish such a feat. The historical information of each chosen instrument is well-researched and relayed in a readable, accessible manner. Adding to the overall enjoyment of the book, the author includes a link on his website to musical excerpts for each chapter. Both musicians and music lovers are certain to enjoy this mesmerizing work, but it is also an inspirational roadmap on how one might develop, initiate, and carry out a goal. The author succeeds in both his musical and writing goals with this entertaining book.

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