So my second year back in school is going okay but it’s a lot harder than last year. My biggest challenge is my aural skills class. I used to have a good ear, or at least I though I did, but I’m having real problems hearing intervals, inversions, and chord progressions. Plus, rhythm. Oh boy. There’s that song – ‘the rhythm is gonna get you’ – truer words could not be said. Rhythm dictation is not going well. It’s frustrating to struggle with something and not see much improvement. In my other classes I can study until I learn the material. In this class it feels like more of an innate thing that over time should get better but possibly not at the speed necessary to pass the class.
I was worried about my music history class and memorizing composers, dates, titles and the like but I think that’s going to be okay. It’ll take work, but I can handle that. Theory is an interesting beast. We’re studying secondary dominant chords and modulation along with writing four part chorales right now. There are so many things to remember that I sometimes end up making really stupid mistakes. Aaaargh. One of the really good things about school is that all my teachers are really great. My classes are very interesting and the teachers are superb at explaining their subjects.
Horn wise, I am definitely playing better than I did last year but I still get frustrated and I still have bad days. Not as many as I used to have but enough to get me down in the dumps now and then. Fortunately I don’t have bad weeks anymore and I can eventually figure out what I’m not doing that I should be doing. Usually it’s air or the lack thereof.
My biggest frustration is that I can’t find an orchestra to play in. In my first semester at school I took orchestra and it was interesting but not that fulfilling because I was the only wind player. It took me a while to get used to being the only one but I did and I enjoyed it, especially the dress rehearsal and concert when we did finally have a full complement of players. For the spring semester I opted to play with the band and wind ensemble but I really missed the orchestra. That led me to audition and get into a small orchestra in New York City. I played with them last spring and enjoyed it but they changed their rehearsal time for this fall and, sadly, the new time just doesn’t work for me. Back to the search. So far, no dice except that I got permission to sit with (not play) the horn section of a good Long Island orchestra that rehearses a few minutes from my house. On one hand it feels really weird but on the other, I am learning something. I follow the music and I get to hear good horn players. There’s a possibility that I’ll be able to fill in now and then and play with them in the summer. At least I’ve got the first inch of my big toe in the door.
One thought on “School and other frustrations”
Tina, Thanks for continuing to post! I enjoy reading about your journey. I was having a lot of trouble with my (borrowed) vintage horn and decided to casually look around for a replacement. I found one on Craigslist and when I answered the ad, I was surprised to find that the horn was being sold by a very well-known professional who plays in the local (major) orchestra! She was selling the horn for a student, and had had it checked over by the repair guy that the pros use. I have complete confidence in the instrument, which is a Yamaha 666. My teacher also played it and listened to me play it, alternating with my borrowed horn. I don’t know if this is my forever horn, but I’m delighted to have my very own horn again after all these years, and I’m pretty sure it will keep its value if I decide to upgrade in a few years. All in all, I’m happy with my investment, which was very modest when it comes to horns. Right after that, I got a request to play in a brass quintet, and it sounds like it will be a good next step for me along with the community band.