For those of you who don’t know, I drive about 1,000 miles a week (minus 500 miles). Naturally I spend a ton of time in my car listening to what awful radio I can get without an antenna. Recently I have had all the Rianna and FUN I can get so I stumbled upon the classical radio station.
Classical music has been very painful for me to listen to for the past three years.
Three years ago I put my horn down
Three years ago I moved home from a school I absolutely loved.
Three years ago I stopped studying the only thing in life that made sense to me.
I went from playing, listening, reading, learning, eating, breathing music twenty four hours a day to studying pre calculus, Texas government, and spanish on top of working thirty hours a week.
Since I stopped playing horn hearing classical music made me cry. Like full on ugly cry occasionally. Even movie music would get to me. I work at a movie theater and some of the scores would stab me in the stomach.
I was going through my books a couple weeks ago and found notes from my professors at Baylor. They were incredibly complementary on my musicianship. As a musician you don’t take compliments very well and it is easy to beat yourself up when you get criticism. These notes got me thinking about how much I really miss studying music.
Reflecting on why classical music puts a lump in my throat, I started to realize that I don’t play enough music for myself. I miss the satisfaction of practicing something for hours on end to finally nail it ten times out of ten and know it sounds good. I miss the frustration of transposition and the joy in finally getting it right. I miss working finger patterns and the sore feeling of exercising the muscles in my lips until they are numb. It was good and fulfilling.
All this means to me is I need to do something like this again. There are times in learning a new musical instrument that you get discouraged and you hit what feels like a wall but is actually just a plateau. It is hard to continue to move forward and feel like you are getting better. I have finally reached a place where I feel like I can (sometimes) say I play guitar. I love the calluses that have consistently been on the fingertips of my left hand for the past six months and the achey feeling in my hands after trying to push my limits. This is good. I am more motivated than ever before to keep playing guitar. Yes, I sing at church a couple times a week but using your voice is just not the same as working your hands and your mind together to create music that started off rough and playing it until its right.
Now I don’t cry when I turn on the classical radio station or hear amazing scores in movies or watch The Punch Brothers play Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.
Now I smile, close my eyes, and take it in. Hoping some day I can feel as good about playing a string instrument as I did about playing French Horn.
Don’t get me wrong. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I was still at Baylor studying counterpoint and spending fifteen hours a week in a practice room. However, I know that my place is here now. I just need to make good use of my time and prioritize my heart and dedicate the right about of energy to what makes me feel put back together.