This story originally aired on November 18, 2017.
All Things Considered host Ed Ronco and Morning Edition producer Ariel Van Cleave came to learn their respective instruments after things didn't work out with their first choice.
Ed started with the trumpet, but the combination of the smaller mouthpiece and a mouth full of braced turned out to be a painful experience. So he moved to the baritone horn, which had a larger mouthpiece, and never looked back.
Ariel, on the other hand, just had a distaste for her assigned instrument, the trombone, and at the encouragement of her father, she switched to euphonium.
Neither of these instruments, which both sound a lot like a trombone, get a lot of play in orchestral settings, but that didn't stop Ariel and Ed from continuing to play through college.
At Michigan State, Ed joined the Spartan marching band, and while he was initially a less serious musician, the opportunity to participate in a talented marching band was inspiration to work harder at his instrument.
Ariel's motivation to continue on, however, came in college after the passing of her father, who also played euphonium. Ariel looked at her euphonium as something that got her through that time, and continues to look at it as "an anchor to feel steady."
While neither of them play as much as they like to today, they've found a little bond with each other through their instruments, and from time to time will blow a few notes together, keeping a little slice of their past, present.