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4.8.01

Dave is learning to play guitar, sandry is describing what a powerful experience playing in orchestra is, and I'm reminded how much I suck at music.

Music is kind of a weird thing for me. Playing music is really important to me. I can't imagine the last six years without being in various bands (thank you Kristin and Rebecca for talking me into joining marching band at the last possible minute and thus reawakening my interest). I get a huge feeling of accomplishment and belonging when I'm performing, or even just rehearsing. Hockey games are one of the most fun things I get to do at school. So sophomore year, I went to a Colgate hockey game (first round of the ECAC playoffs, home vs. Yale) that the band didn't play at. And even though it was an exciting game, and we won, the experience seemed really hollow. The whole time I just wanted to go over and stand with the Yale band. Well, except for when they were playing "Uncle Fucker." (I realised that I still know the words to at least the whole first verse of that song. Darn you, Gary, for borrowing Mike's South Park CD!)

But the thing is, I'm a terrible musician. You'd think that since I've been playing for 12 years (minus the five months I was in Australia), I should be pretty good. Anything else I value so much -- drawing, writing, origami, web design -- I work at and work at, to get things right. I'll freely admit what a perfectionist I am. But that doesn't happen with music. I practice infrequently, just enough to keep my skills from regressing. I know a little more about how music is put together than I did a few years ago, but my ability to play it -- even just basic scales -- is no better. I listen to too much John Mars and not enough Miles Davis. And though I complain about it to myself (and now here in public), I really can't motivate myself to practice more.

Learning to play the piano is on my list of things to do before I die. But if I can't master the trumpet after 12 years, how am I going to manage an instrument that requires thinking about several notes at once? I suppose I'll just console myself with the fact that I'm pretty good at air drums.

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