Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow. ~Dan Rather, American journalist and TV news anchor
My flute teacher has been trying for weeks to tell me I’m ready to play in a group.
That a real band setting will teach me things I can’t learn by doing only private lessons.
Logic tells me she’s right, but oh my. I’ve been playing less than two years. Who’d want me in their band?
Well, it turns out my teacher has just the right group in mind.
It’s a symphonic band at a nearby college, one that meets weekly and is comprised of a variety of student music majors on secondary instruments, students of other majors who miss playing in a band, and community members who might not have touched their instruments for decades.
In short, a little better than beginners, but in no way professionals.
You’ll be fine, she said.
And my blogging friend Dawn echoed those sentiments. We’re all scared the first time, she said, but it gets easier.
Okay, I thought, I’ll give it a try. I’ve never known musicians to be cruel, critical, or belittling.
Still, just thinking about this gave me the shakes.
That jittery feeling in your stomach that questions whether you’ve lost your mind.
I mean, it’s one thing to play for myself — and by myself — in a lesson.
It’s another entirely to play in public with others.
Fortunately, age has taught me that if you want to do something but are afraid, do it anyway. One gets courage from taking baby steps and succeeding.
This week was our group’s first rehearsal.
We sightread the four pieces our director has chosen, introduced ourselves, did some warmups and tuning. Just like I remember band practices.
Nobody made fun of anybody else. Nobody complained about the pieces … or the two concerts we’d be giving this semester. Nobody fussed about having to sit next to somebody who might not play as well as they.
Time flew, and just like that, rehearsal was over.
I walked to my car humming Tricycle, one of the songs we’d been playing (particularly hard to count as it’s in 5/4 time).
And I couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear.
Band is so much FUN!