I can’t say I usually cry at movies, however with the recent loss of my father I’m finding it difficult to sit through certain scenes in movies. This morning I fell victim to one of these moments while scrolling through things on Facebook. It reminded me of my relationship with my dad, and I appreciate him for it.
To say the James Earl Jone and Courtney B. Vance are brilliant actors, would be an understatement. However for some reason this scene from the play version of Fences took me down. Since the movie version of Fences has been such a success, it’s nice to see versions of the stage version as well.
The past four weeks have been quite difficult for me. I had to take a significant amount of time away from my day job as a middle school music teacher to care for my father. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about that as I continue to cope with losing him. However with all that has happened, my students remind me (yet again) why I am a teacher, by creating this message for me.
They did manage to include music we have been studying and a song I made them research earlier in the school year. Great way of connecting our curriculum. Nice job Soundview Class of 2017.
My breathing becomes labored, I don’t know what to do with my hands. By the time I get to my car, I’ve got several tears rolling down my face. Luckily it’s raining…so if anyone saw me they might think it was just the rain. It’s 9:30 in the morning on the first day of first grade for my kid and I can’t deal. The car do closes and I can’t hold my tears any more…
A few simple words sent me into this state. First I apologized to my kid for forgetting to give her, her medication. Then she said “It’s okay daddy, things happen. This will help me with my day, I’m really nervous”. We talked some more and by the end of the conversation she gave me a hug and a kiss, then went back to her new classroom and I walked back to my car.
The image of her walking towards her classroom stayed with me the rest of the day. If I had this moment back, I might have ask her for one more hug.
The idea of a spirit animal is a cool concept. If you look online you might find a test that might match you with a creature which may best represent you. However, the topic at the moment is Sia and how my daughter has committed every song in her catalog to memory. I can’t explain why she like her music so much, but I appreciate her good taste. When ever I find an acoustic version of one of her songs I try to share it with my kid. And she loves every version my wife and I find for her.
I know what your thinking, yet another trumpeter writing about the importance of mouthpiece selection and striking the perfect balance between back-bore and throat size. I happen to follow all those trends religiously but this isn’t another one of those rants. Coincidentally, I currently play a Laskey 75C with a standard throat and back-bore, not that it matters. The question about mouthpieces comes up for me at least twice a year. I’ve noticed this pattern over the past 5 or 6 years.
The question comes up because I want to improve my performance on the trumpet. Which usually leads me to examine my approach to the instrument and the art of creating music. In reality it’s a small question that leads to bigger thoughts. The progression of questions might start off like this:
• Should I play a 22 throat with a symphonic back-bore like I did for 12 years or stay with what I have currently?
• Am I producing the sound I want the audience to hear?
• Am I performing music as the composer’s intended and am I being true to the style of music I am performing?
• Am I growing as an artist and educator of music?
• Can I continue to perform music and have a meaningful family life?
• Do I make enough money as a musician and educator?
• Am I doing everything I can to provide for my kid?
• Should I finish this bottle of wine or just go to bed?
This is jus a small sampling of the rabbit hole I fall into late at night/early morning. It starts off with the idea of playing a different mouthpiece and whether it’s the “Right Move”. Then there are the other question… Can I afford it financially….Can I afford not to make a change?
Too many questions … Maybe I’ll open up the back-bore next month.
While I recognize the changes that occur in my life around the month of September are major shifts, I can’t help the feeling of running head first into the truth….. that I am an adult. Maintaining stability in two art based professions while dealing with parental and husbandly duties, is a total shift from the summer schedule of stay at home dad while checking off items listed on my “honey do/due list”.
Having met my “honey do” goals, and satisfied the unicorn adventures with my kid. I now feel the focus of the other parts of my existence starting to flower. At home I get to watch football. As a teacher I go back to my favorite cup to sip coffee out of and listen to copious amounts of Beethoven for our Romantic Music Unit. Finally there is the constant wonderment on seeing the stars.
Finding those little moments within my work and home duties, seems to be the fun at this point. Almost like stealing a single serving point of personal enjoyment while being an adult.
Recently I took my computer to a repair shop where I was told that there wasn’t much that could be done to salvage the machine. Normally this wouldn’t bug me, except I realized it was the computer hard-drive that had all the family photos and videos. I have most of this stuff backed up on an external device, however that machine was a big part of how we shared our new family member with the rest of the world.
My kid and I watched out first cartoons on that computer. My wife and I ordered our kids birthday presents and planned parties with that machine. We skyped and facetimed with my parents and my kid met cousins for the first time. My wife created fantastic picture book with photos of our adventure with our kid. The list goes on…
Like most things you grow out of, you move on to the next thing and keep the parts that represent good memories.