++ Christy Lichtenstein ++ When I was a little kid in Louisiana, my parents bought me a toy piano. It consisted of one octave. I played it, broke it, fixed it, and eventually outgrew it. I assure you, my parents got their money out of that gift. That octave was enough to get me hooked on music. When I was about 6 years old I moved on to play a real piano, and eventually got pretty good at it despite never having a single lesson. While I was learning I had to put up with a lot of “stop banging” comments. That problem was resolved when my parents bought me my first keyboard. It came with headphones and a volume knob so everyone loved it! I went through several keyboards, but was never completely satisfied with anything that had black & white keys. I wanted to find another instrument. I tried the sax. It was quickly determined that horns were not the instrument for me. I also tried the drums. That only lasted a few lessons. I got tired of beating on them—wanted something more melodic. I also tried an accordion once. The guy in the store let me play with it for about an hour. That was ample time to gain the utmost respect for accordion players. Somewhere along the way I tried guitar. The strings felt too skinny. Plus, I like to be different and it seemed like everyone played guitar. Later on, I tried the bass. That felt much better. I started out with a 4-string Fender Mexican Jazz Bass. Started taking lessons almost immediately and was playing in a band within the year. God bless anyone who was nice enough to attend those shows! Since then I’ve moved on to less scary bands and less scary basses. The cheap Fender is actually pretty nice now. I refer to it as Frankenbass, since the only original part left on it is the wood. I don’t play it much, though, as I prefer my 5-string Spector basses. While I’m mentioning names, I should also add that I use Mari strings. When I’m not playing music I can usually be found flying a Cherokee. I fly a lot since I got my license. There’s nothing like the first time you take the plane up without a pesky instructor tagging along!