I joined a band.
Not a cool, I’m a hipster singing with my banjo band. Or a rock band. Let’s face it… I love music, but I’m not that kind of awesome.
I joined a concert band.
Yup. Bring back the band geek.
As I have said before on here, I am super in to music and play a few instruments. In fact, I even went to band camp.
Unfortunately, med school ate my life. As a result, I haven’t played in a formal band in about 6 years. I also realized I haven’t played my saxophone (my first love) in at least 4. Seriously.
I haven’t been happy with this trend. I vowed I would pick it back up in med 4, but the travel got the best of me. I said I would join something after my first year of residency, but given the fact that my program likes to basically force us to do not one, but two years of internship of sorts, that was near impossible. My time is consumed by all kinds of things. I might love music, but often I was too tired to go through the effort of getting stuff together to play. Patrick was starting to get tired of me always saying I wanted to play but never playing.
But, now I am in the coveted R3 year. That means I am on-service. Which means I am insanely busy, but it also means my life is slightly more predictable.
So, I started looking into bands. For living in a bigger city, this was no easy task. Especially because the only band in town meets on a night I am often on call and isn’t looking for my instrument and wants people to be at almost every practice and concert (I agree this is a fair expectation, but anybody who knows anyone in residency knows that this is almost impossible). So, then I looked in the surrounding areas. I must say, some people really need to hit the internet era. There were at least 2 groups with non existent or out of date web pages with no clear contact info. Apparently word of mouth works for them.
I ended up finding out that a town about 25 minutes from my house has both a formal concert band made up of people from the city and surrounding areas. They also have a “feeder” band called the 9am band. This group is for anyone who has a year of band experience who wants to play music/become better musicians. Anyone. No specific instruments. No big contracts. No tryouts.
As someone who was studying high level band stuff, this is everything I never had. And everything I want right now.
Confession… I cracked out my sax, Fuzzy, out for the first time last night. Much to the horror of Jeter. It is like riding a bike. I’m a bit unsteady, but it all comes back so fast. Music is like a language to me.
So, Fuzzy and I went to my first rehearsal this morning.
Yes, Saturday morning. At 9 am. And it is a half hour drive… Took me 40 minutes today because I got lost a million times. The timing sucks, but Saturdays also means that I am only working that day one weekend a month and I still have the evenings to do homework or spend time with people and such.
The band was welcoming. People were friendly. It was a diverse group. Mostly tweens and teens. And probably their musical parents. But also some older folks too.
The saxophone section consisted of a female tenor sax player and 6 altos including me. I was the only girl. There was a middle aged man. 3 boys that couldn’t be older than 14 and another boy just starting high school. There were some wrong notes happening, but the good part is they are all playing and were happy to be there.
The music is mostly simple. The songs range from really easy to some fun concert arrangements that would be on the easier side at the band I played with back home. Apparently the concert band is really good and their easiest stuff is often closer to the hard stuff this one plays. In a way, I want that. In another way, I’m glad to start out slow.
I went in to this expecting it to take some time to get back in the groove. I picked this as the group to try because it worked time wise and I had less guilt about commitment in a group with fewer concert commitments and less stringent requirements.
I loved it. Sure, at times it felt like school again. But it was so great to actually be playing in a group.
I had to laugh because I went in with no expectations except to play. The kid next to me informed me he was a 1st sax. This was funny to me because being 1st was such a big deal to me around that age. It is an accomplishment. It means you are often one of the better players of the section. For me, it was a pride thing. Today, I could care less. Which is good because he informed me that I would probably end up being a 2nd because I’m new. I’m just happy to play. Whatever. But, I had to share music with him today, which did not thrill him. And I confess, I did harbour some pride when we played a more complicated piece and I didn’t miss as many notes as he did (yes, I am a terrible person).
I think the Saturday mornings will be rough sometimes. I think this is a very different group than some of the ones I have played with. But, I think this is the right place for me. Where I can shake the rust off and just simply enjoy the music again without the pressures that sometimes come with it in more “professional” groups.
I love enjoying the music again. Sitting with my sax in the middle of a band feels like home (even in a room full of strangers).