Thursday, March 19, 2015

I Wanted the Saxophone #TBT

Almost everyone wanted the saxophone in Elementary School Band.

I wanted the saxophone.

First preference was given to children with some level of natural music ability.  After they picked their instruments, it was narrowed down to those who are quick learners.  Finally, it was down to the remaining few kids.

No dramatic twist here.  I was not in the first group of kids, nor was I in the second group of kids. The saxophone went quickly and dashed my dreams of saxophone fame.

I got my second choice; the trumpet.

It wasn't that the trumpet was a bad instrument.  It was difficult and required discipline to hit certain notes.  I had not taken any characteristic evaluations in that early stage of my life, but I knew even then that "disciplined" was not a word ever used to describe me.

It only had three buttons (keys, or whatnot) but it might as well of had 20.  How you blew into the trumpet, how you pursed your lips, etc. all had an effect at how it sounded.

I practiced at school.  I sort of practiced at home. We had a big recital coming up for Christmas and I was ready.  Sort of.

I remember the day like it was yesterday.  Never before or after had I ever been in front of a crowd of that size performing in any capacity. I knew my parts in each of our songs very well, but dreaded one note.

I cannot remember which note; I believe that God graciously blocked that part out of my memory.  However, I do remember the song. "Up on the Housetop".

In practice that day I tried the note 10 times - I nailed it once.  I was as ready as I would ever be. The concert started and I saw my parents way in the back.  We started and everything was going well. Two songs down and time for "Up on the Housetop".

As we went through the song I started to gain confidence.  I actually started to believe in myself and think that it would be possible to hit that terribly difficult note.  I decided to not only go for the note, but really belt it out at that crucial point in the song.

Somewhere a family of cats started to mourn. Clearly one of their own had been captured and tortured.  They may have plotted revenge, but not on this day.

I went for it with everything I had. The note could not have been any further off and any louder if I tried. It was atrocious.

But at least I tried.  I failed, but I gave it everything I had.  So where did it go wrong?

Preparation. I practiced at home, but not enough.  I halfheartedly readied myself when there was much more I could have done.

Playing trumpet wasn't my "thing".  It never came naturally, nor did I have a passion for it.  It was just something I signed up for. Even though it was fun to be part of the band, I was not fully committed to it.

Lessons you learn as a child rarely stick with you well enough to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.  Why do we continue to be miserable doing something we do not enjoy? We have dreams for something more, but do nothing to make those things happen. Time to take action.

Never just quit.  Form a plan. Then form a backup plan.  Then set goals and work toward those plans. 

Then you'll be ready.  If your adult life version of the saxophone is taken away from you, will you just settle for a year of doing something you do not enjoy and then quit (like the trumpet)?

Instead, use that time doing something you don't enjoy to hone your skill-set to prepare for the opportunity to do something you love.  The opportunities will not create themselves. 

Time to stop settling for what hand we're dealt by this world, and start reaching for more.  We're all a little off-key at times; maybe we're just playing the wrong instrument. 

1 comment:

  1. Miranda Speakman3/19/2015

    I loved this :) It made me smile just reading it!