Tonight was my third practice with the Zville Community Band. Aside from these three rehearsals and one practice at home, I had not played my clarinet since college, so it certainly stands to reason that I am WAY out of practice. What actually surprises me more is how much of it comes right back.
In high school, I played the clarinet every day. We had band rehearsal every morning, and while I'm sure our director, like all teachers, lamented about wasted class time, I will say that he made far better use of rehearsal time than most. At various points during the year, I did a few other ensembles that met in the evenings, and in short, music was a constant part of my life. Even during the summer, we rehearsed twice a week, and being the good, diligent student that I was, I practiced regularly on my own as well. (Seriously.)
In college, the fall still held marching band. Regular rehearsals were six hours a week, plus basically all day on Saturdays when we had football games. I won't say there was a lot of focus on musicality here. We changed up music and drills fairly often, and rehearsals were used for that, so it was assumed that by college, we were all good enough musicians to take responsibility for mastering the music on our own time. I will shamefacedly admit that this was not always actually the case for me. While I was a triple-major, music was not one of them, and I was actually kind of intimidated by the practice rooms at Lilly Hall. Pathetic excuse, I know, but true.
At any rate, my musical skills weren't exactly growing during college, but they weren't decreasing either. I played in marching band in the fall, basketball band in the winter/spring, and concert band in the semesters where my schedule allowed me to fit it in. I remember the semester that I studied abroad in Ireland as being the first time in about seven years that I had not been connected to a musical ensemble. I missed it desperately. One day I actually walked over to the music building on UC Cork's campus and stood outside a rehearsal hall, just listening. It made my heart ache just to hear the notes and not be part of it.
When I got back to Butler that fall, I actually was kind of worried that I'd have problems playing my clarinet. It had been about six months since I'd played. What if I sounded terrible, couldn't read music, couldn't make any sounds?? I didn't actually have any problems, but it's funny now to think how worried I was after just that short of a time.
As an adult, I am still an absolute sucker for marching band. My heart just thrills every time I hear a warm-up cadence on the drums. I've enrolled my kids in Kindermusik for several semesters, and Ben and I try to expose our kids to music in every way possible. But I have still missed being part of it myself. And now I'm back. Kind of.
Like I said, I'm struggling. It's frustrating when my slow old eyes can't keep up with the music, and even more frustrating when my fingers can't keep up with my eyes. I have never been terribly good at sight reading, and that's pretty much all I'm doing at this point. I'm much more of a "practice makes perfect" kind of girl, and that's not so much in the cards right now, given the large stack of music in my folder and the pitiful amount of "free time" in my week (most of which comes when my children are asleep, which negates noise-making activities on my part). But in spite of all of this, I am so glad to be doing something that I enjoy again. Thanks to Kathleen for talking me in to (finally!) joining!!