Our Castle Rock Orchestra had a Christmas concert today. . . The concert was great fun, and if you recall, I was principal. What made that remarkable was that I stewed about it for several weeks. I practiced everything that mattered. I practiced fingerings, I thought about phrasing, dynamics, articulation, and intonation. And I psyched myself up, so determined to play as well as I could.
Today arrived, concert day. Yikes! I tried to avoid thinking about what it meant not to do this well, and I stayed just this side of being really nervous. I turned that wonderful corner where nerves turn into determination and concentration, and adrenalin is your friend. Of all the things I thought about, there was one thing I never thought about. The one thing that it most depends. I never gave a single thought to my chops.
After a year of BE, and weeks of practicing those parts, I never questioned whether or not I could slur up to a high A and hit it cleanly. I'm not saying I didn't chip any notes, but I hit all those high A's as clean as a whistle!
I had several thoughts occur to me as the concert went on. The first was, "What a fool I was to quit playing for all those years." The second was, "This is where I really belong, it doesn't get better than this." The third was about what a stretch it is for me to be playing these first part solos and that I had to bring everything I knew. And finally it cocurred to me that if you're lucky enough to be a horn player, then you're lucky enough.
I'm close to a year past discovering BE, corresponding with Jeff, and exchanging the first email with you. What a year of discovery it's been! I've never been bungee jumping, but I don't believe it could hold a candle to playing the horn, either for the terror or the thrill. I wouldn't trade any experience on earth for the thrill of playing the horn this afternoon. I don't think I have the words to describe it. It's that feeling deep down inside that something came into your life and made such a huge impact, that you wonder how you could have accomplished something so personally meaningful if you hadn't been touched in that way. . . I couldn't have risen to the challenge today without it.
Joyful Christmas to you and your family, and God bless you and yours for all that you do.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
The Terror & Thrill of Horn Playing
I think every horn player can identify with the sentiments my friend, Doug, recently shared with me in a spontaneous and unsolicited email.