Joining a Band

Right after Christmas 2008 I started thinking about joining a community band. Lynn, my teacher, was encouraging me to go ahead and try to get in one. She is always telling me that I am better than I think I am and that I should just stop worrying and go do it.

The first challenge was to find one. I did a search and came up with a page of Long Island community music organizations but there was nothing anywhere near me. Then Lynn heard about one near me just by chance and I got up the nerve to contact the director. My email said something like; “I haven’t played in 36 years but I just started again. I can mostly play Mozart’s 3rd Horn Concerto. I would like to audition for your band if you need any horns.” Much to my surprise his email back said that the first rehearsal for 2009 was in a couple of days and that he would love to have me join. Directions to the band room in the high school followed. What? No audition? Wow.

January 13, 2009: My first rehearsal with the local community band. I’m playing 4th which is fine with me. The last time I played with any group was back in college. It felt very strange yet at the same time so familiar. I am sitting right in front of the trumpets so it is a bit difficult to actually hear what’s coming out of my horn. The seating is, from center stage, 4, 3, 2, 1 so I’m in the center. (I have since learned that the seating is set up this way because the 1st horn is mostly deaf and doesn’t want to sit in front of the trumpets – go figure.) And this way the poor 3rd horn gets to hear all my goofs. Since this was the first rehearsal for the new year we got new music so everyone was sightreading their parts. I don’t think the composers actually wrote all the dissonance.

The band music handed out was mostly marches. The 4th horn part is almost all offbeats. I have to say that my first rehearsal was pretty hard for me. A gazillion measures of 8th note rest – 8th note – rest, etc. I got lost more often than not. I also struggled with playing the offbeats. Then there were the 16th notes in cut time. Yikes. And the intonation – unmentionable.

Fast forward to last week – I am pretty good now. I struggled through the rehearsals getting a little bit better at each one and then a few weeks ago everything just clicked. What a feeling. It made all the struggling worth it. I also got into another band with a referral from the 2nd horn. Progress!!!

The Meltdown –>

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