Recently I decided to add another weekly event to my already crazy schedule. I truly think I was busier when the kids were young, but of course, I was a lot younger then too! Anyway, I finally decided that I needed to dust off my oboe and join a band. I don't like the thought of auditions (been there, done that), so I found a local community band rehearsing about a fifteen-minute drive from my house.
I think it's been over a year since I played my oboe. The thought was kind of depressing. Back in high school and college I would play two or three hours a day. After I started teaching, I played in a community orchestra, and I taught private lessons, but having a full time job cut back on my playing time. It was more like four hours a week.
But then the children arrived. My priorities changed, and I stopped playing in the orchestra. I kept my union membership (I'm actually still a member) but other than the occasional gig on the Fourth of July or a random church that would call and ask me to play, I didn't put my time into it.
So now the kids are all grown up. No more excuses. I don't get too many calls to play (I did play on the Fourth of July, but was asked to bring my clarinet instead of oboe), so I finally decided I needed to go back to the basics. And I went to the first rehearsal of the season. I was a little worried I'd forgotten everything I learned. But the fingers remembered where to go, and I didn't get lost trying to read the music.
My chops (lips) were another story. After not playing for so long, that tight embouchure (the way you set your mouth on the instrument) was torture. The rehearsal was only an hour and a half - not very long by rehearsal standards - but by the time it was over my jaws and lips were HURTING!!!
Am I going to quit? NO!! I'm going to go back and do it again. It's kinda like walking that 5K last month. Now that I know I can do it, I have to make a habit of it. I always loved playing and making music. And now I have the time to do it again. What could be better? It's not fattening, immoral, or bad for my health. So I can keep going with a clear conscience.
Now if I can just remember where I put my glasses...