Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Trying to Decide

As you know, since earlier this year I've been playing in a well-known concert band. I enjoy concert bands immensely - playing with a large ensemble is a thrill - but recently I've been feeling less and less confident in this one. I'm eighth of eight flautists and very much less competent than the seventh. Some of the repertoire is above my current abilities, and while I don't mind being stretched, it's just becoming frustrating and depressing because I haven't currently got the agility to play the quick frilly bits that are the flute's job in a concert band. I find I'm spending most of my time feeling self-conscious and embarrassed and awkward, instead of revelling in the music.

On Monday I joined in an SCA music group - my very first SCA experience, and a good one! There was one other flautist, several violins, a cello, a harp, several recorders of different sizes, a couple of guitars, a drum, a rebec (!), and a sort of early organ that rests on the player's lap and is operated with a keyboard and bellows. The music was just the right level: not baby stuff, but not so hard that I couldn't actually play it by sight, which was all sorts of fun. The challenge came in playing the descant / harmony lines and keeping to the interesting medieval rhythms and getting faster as some of the dances progressed. It reminded me that I can be a wanted and valued member of a musical group, not a second-class citizen who's only just good enough to be there.

I can do both band and SCA music, and perhaps improve in each via the other, but there's another element. The SCA has a singing group as well, that operates on Tuesdays when I'm normally at band. I haven't found a choir I'm happy with yet, because most choirs seem to be the province of my mother's and grandmother's generations, or uber-elite groups of people my age or younger that I'm sure I'm not good enough to join. So I'm missing out on singing.

If I leave band, I get to do flute AND singing with the SCA, and with at least some people my own age. And people who are really doing it for the pure joy of it, not because they're professional or elite musicians.

If I decide not to do band, I will miss out on taking part in the Christmas Pageant, something I have wanted to do since I was a little girl. But then again, I found marching for ANZAC day quite challenging and not entirely fun, and this would be a much longer march playing a wider range of more challenging pieces. And I'd be free to watch the pageant, and there will be Christmas events with the SCA and church and so on. I don't think I'll be desperately lacking Christmas events. Not to mention that medieval Christmas carols are my favourites anyway ;)

So I'm torn and trying to make a decision about whether or not I'm staying or going with band. I've missed nearly two months of rehearsals between viruses and the school camp, so I feel very behind. I have to go back at least once to drop my uniform off, but otherwise I'm not sure I want to go back. I've got to make a decision by next Tuesday really. And before the fee invoices for this financial year come out! I don't know what I want.

I've got a headache that is hovering on the edge of migraine territory, and a queasy stomach, and I'm more supervising than actually teaching today. I'm feeling the pressure because my housemate may be moving out in a month or so (moving closer to work) and my school is having financial wobbles (lots of kids withdrew because their parents just can't afford the fees in the financial crisis) and although we're working on it, I'm terrified I'm going to be retrenched. I know the principal doesn't want to lose anyone and is pulling out all stops to avoid that, but I'm still worrying.

The SCA is much, much cheaper than any of my other interests, and I can do singing, flute, dancing, arts and crafts, sewing and so on through it so it's extremely wide-ranging and valuable. I just feel a little strange about putting all my eggs in one basket. But then again, perhaps I should be keeping them all together . . .


i say quit the band and just do the SCA. specially if you think you're gonna enjoy it much more etc.

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