Friday, September 14, 2018

Full circle returning to rhythm

This summer was an interesting one when I rented an alto saxophone and studied it for three months. I got inspired to try a new band instrument after seeing a band from the local senior center play. There were about 12 saxophones and I thought it would be fun to try it.  Well, it was interesting but it did not "take" for me. Seemed that once I got to a certain level, a new and bigger challenge would emerge.  For instance, when I worked on learning to play, "Over the Rainbow," I found it hard because the melody flows slowly and without a break. For a wind player, that means having to have a lot of breath control to play a long flowing series of notes without stopping to take a breath.

I loved the novelty that opened opportunities for musical growth for me. However, I came to see that practicing alone in my living room was not what I had in mind. I realized it would take me months to be good enough to join an ensemble. So this led me back to where I started 45 years ago playing percussion in high school band! Somehow I didn't think I'd end up here but here I am.

I have joined a beginners wind band ensemble at our senior center in town and last week was our first rehearsal. I loved the challenge of it and it was a lot of fun to me. I knew I'd make mistakes and the conductor had a lot to say regarding my tendency to rush the tempo or to tense up. "Relax, slow down. " Sound familiar? It's not that I feel I have trouble slowing down but it's true when in a new experience, I do tend to get a little tense. I am enjoying practicing slowing down and relaxing back into being a drummer again. It is something I never forgot and holding those sticks in my hand and playing with the recordings on YouTube.  It's going to be fun. We're practicing for our concert in December.

I once said to myself, "The secret to being a master is the willingness to be a beginner over and over again. " I find that is true. I love to read music and to be challenged.

What's on your music stand these days?