Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My changing identity as a musician.

So... here I am, almost 3 years out of college with a BA in Music with an emphasis in Horn and I am sitting in no where Nebraska wondering if I wasted talent or this is where I need to be musically. I have played with two symphonies, one semi-professional and of a lower eschelon status where I actually got payed to play, while the other is completely volunteer but they help pay for gas. Many of you may not know this, but I actually was accepted to Wichita State University and I was working on auditioning for a GTA position with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. Life happened. I got pregnant with Lydia and my husband found a job teaching. So, I auditioned for the Hastings Symphony Orchestra and used my talents there.

Taken by Grant Anderson

Now, 3 years out of college and having a bajillion different identity crisis in the process, I play in a volunteer orchestra and working full time as a para where my husband teaches. I also have had the opportunity to give trumpet lessons to a 6th grader who is actually doing quite well. Not sure if it is because of my teaching or just that she has talent. I am mostly going towards talent.

Photo from my sister Kaylin and I's Junior recital poster.

These past two years with the volunteer symphony I have been sitting lower than I have ever sat. Not trying to sound cocky (trust me that is the last thing I want to do) but from Junior year in high school through all of my college career I sat Principal chair. When I was with Hastings I sat second next to a really strong first player who was just amazing. I didn't mind sitting behind her at all. I actually learned a lot for her. She taught me to not be so hard on myself and to trust my judgement and the technique I did have. But now, I am constantly sitting 3rd or 4th chair, and I don't know if this is based off of talent level, skill set, or just random. I don't get why people are sitting in the places they are. Makes no sense to me. Anyway, this is making myself question what I am as a horn player now. I had a major reality check when I auditioned for a music scholarship last semester and totally botched it. The horn teacher said that she knew I could play better than that since she had heard me in rehearsal, but she said my audition wasn't good at all. I've never had that happen before. Big slap in the face. All of a sudden, the strong horn player who consistently sat high in parts, was now one of the lowest in the group. What happened?
The NWU horn section I believe my junior year.

One of the things I kept telling Marcus was that I wanted to play. I always wanted to be good. I never wanted to give up horn or have my children be told what a good horn player I used to be. I always wanted to stay that good. I never wanted to be a "used to be." I found myself getting angry and jealous that I wasn't playing the solos, but then I remembered that I also worked full-time, I live an hour away from the rehearsal site, and that I have a child who demands a lot of my attention. These things I didn't find giving me excuses, but more of a reality check of how different my life was from the college students who actually have those opportunities to practice everyday.
Taken by Grant Anderson for an art project while at NWU

So, where does that leave me now? I am not even sure. I have conflicting feelings on where I want to be. I am no where close to where I used to be with technique and musicality. I know if I wanted too I could get back to that, but how much work would that take? Am I willing to work towards that when I have other priorities?
My Senior Recital portrait.

I don't know where I am at. I know though that my heart aches whenever I listen to great musical lit. Especially with beautiful horn parts. I know that I struggle that I can't be a leader in my section. I also know I dream about really playing. My horn currently sits in it's case not knowing that last time it was truly practiced. Played... well last week, but a solid practice session, neither of us know. I do know is that I miss those days where I knew that the talent was there and when opportunity arose, I was able to play well and beautifully as well.

Playing at my sister's wedding. 

I will say though, I am extremely grateful for the life I do have. I have an extremely loving family, a supportive husband, and an goofy little girl. I get to play my horn still and give lessons to a young trumpet player. I also have the opportunity to be a para in a 5th grade band classroom, even though I do find myself being occupied with other things in the classroom than helping kids learn music, but I guess that comes with being in a 5th grade classroom with all of those new shiny things called instruments that they get to touch and play. ;)

Even though I am still feeling conflicted about my identity as a horn player, in all reality, who can turn this down? I wouldn't trade this for anything.


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