It was nearly 60° outside on Sunday, and what was I doing? Playing in a band concert.
My main frustration has been with the music selection. Usually there are at least a few challenging pieces which require me to practice a bit. But so far– nada. I’ve been basically able to sight read everything.
It doesn’t make it easy to practice when everything is simple.
More concerning, however, is the fact that for some reason, the ensemble seems to have taken a step back in quality. (Oddly enough, the trombone section has actually improved though). Intonation seems to be more of a challenge, as do tempos. Everything just feels loose, and not in a good way.
In the past there have been moments like this, but then everyone somehow pulls their shit together for the concert and we sound good.
But not this year.
Each concert has had “issues”. There are always some small note bobbles, which don’t really bother me tremendously. (Heck, I bobbled a few Sunday). But then there have been bigger problems, like people getting full beats (or measures!) off, or coming in early, or time becoming so elastic that the ensemble almost falls apart.
The concert on Sunday started decently enough. The first half was ok. It wasn’t super tight, but it was decent. But then the second half just sort of crumbled.
Granted three of the hardest pieces on the program were in the second half, and perhaps we were tired. Perhaps people were unfocused because of the weather. Perhaps the pieces were simply too challenging. Whatever the reason, things just didn’t go well.
And I’m not talking about pieces coming off the rails and ending in a *complete* train wreck. Nothing quite so egregious as that. But I have really high musical standards– so to me it might as well have been.
I mean, when you are playing Appalachian Spring and the woodwinds get off by like a measure at the exposed beginning…. Yeah. It hurts. It hurts my soul.
And to top it off, we did a “dissection” of the concert last night at rehearsal where the director took the opportunity to treat us a bit like children. He showed a PowerPoint outlining the importance of practicing, showing up on time, commitment to the band, etc.
Being talked down to like that just makes me stabby.
I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I’m really disenchanted right now, and going to rehearsals brings me less joy than frustration. Attending on Monday nights just feels like a chore now. Plus the music for the next concert looks less than inspired for trombone (even though we have a trombone player as a featured artist).
It may be time for me to take a small leave of absence from the band in order to rediscover my affinity for playing.