Friday, April 18, 2008

Flute Musings

After not playing in nearly a year, I have finally started trying to play my Irish Flute again.

It is very hard and frustrating (especially when a cat insists on "helping" by draping himself over my lap). I am a good player on the Boehm flute, but Irish flutes are not nearly so forgiving. That's probably why Boehm flutes were invented. Irish flutes take more air and more breath support and more attention to embouchure and the position of your mouth--all those things it's so easy to get lazy about. I can only keep it up for 15-30 minutes before I get too tired and frustrated and quit.

Still, I consider that something to write home about. For a long, long time I couldn't even think of my flutes without severe distress. I don't assign blame easily, but I do assign blame for that. Blame for the bad experience that was Beat Smash Square. Blame for the half of the band that just sat back and expected me to carry them and yes, blame for the other quarter of the band that saw what was going on and did not speak out against it. I feel that the laziness and rank hostility that was so much a part of my experience in that band really squashed my desire to make any kind of music.

I don't know if I can ever wholly forgive that. I try every day. But music was one joy I had in life and having that joy stripped away...well, let's just say it did a lot to put me in my current depressive state.

I would like to get back to performing again, actually. I think about it a lot. I think about performing at ren faires or other smallish venues. I think this will be a long time in coming unless I make better progress, so I try not to focus on that. I try to focus on getting back the enjoyment. Right now when I play, I do not make a huge deal of my mistakes. I think, "I am playing just to play and progress will be made." Even if no one but M. hears me, it is enough. I'm fooling myself, I know. It is not enough. In my heart I have always wanted to be a performing musician and the thought I have come to this age without reaching that goal is a cancer to me, eating away at my insides. I try to tell myself that I have many more years to achieve some kind of proficiency at my instrument and at my voice--the voice I had those years ago with the band is gone and I wonder if I will ever get it back. But every day seems like too long. I want to be good NOW.

M. and I have been playing a little almost every night and I like what I hear, for the most part. He is learning; I am learning. We are in it together. That's one thing I never got from BSS--the sense of togetherness on the project. There was always some hidden agenda, or even spoken agendas: play more gigs, add more people to the line-up, be more, more, more. More than we could be, being who we were. And somehow I always felt it was up to me to make that more happen. Maybe that was true, maybe not, but it was and is my true feeling.

Anyway. Six years after breaking up the band I am finally playing again. It has taken me twice as long to recover from the band as the band existed. That says a lot.

Maybe I finally have a chance at this. I hope so.

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