October 22nd, 2015

Much Ado

Hitting big things with sticks!

Last night at concert band rehearsal, I got to play the timpani part on "Last Ride of the Pony Express"! It was the first time I got to try out playing timpani, and it was a BLAST! It's not a particularly complex part, but certainly challenging enough for me, since I'm not a percussion player (I just muck around on snare for the summer old fogey marching band). It's a lot more complex than just hitting the things at the right time - you have to learn where to hit the drum and how to make it sound like you want it to, and it's actually really hard to gauge just how loud you are compared to the rest of the band, since you stand in the back and really can't hear everyone in front of you. Anyway, I did well enough (meaning, the conductor didn't point out anything that I was explicitly doing wrong), and I might get to play timpani on a couple of other parts. I've been reading up on techniques and practice on the web, and I think I need to make myself a mute (which will be easier to handle on certain parts than trying to dampen with my hand).

I have to admit that I was completely nervous doing this. While I love playing concert music, I'm not really much of a musician - first, I don't practice, and second, I don't have a natural aesthetic sense for anything (music, art, writing; and when I go clothes shopping, I always bring my best friend along so that she can dress me), so my music, if I practice, is technically correct but not emotional at all. So, in general, I choose to play music in settings where I can hide behind the good musicians. This is why I don't play oboe. Of course, in a band or orchestra, there is only one timpani player, so it stands out. To me, this felt like I was playing a solo, something I have never done and always avoided, and my heart pounded all the way through. Adrenaline for the win!

The other big thing I've been hitting with a stick today is an outline for a story that I might try to write for NaNoWriMo. It's the same one that I had planned to do last year but had lost interest in. A friend of mine asked me what my idea was, so I wrote out a summary, and by the time I had finished that, I realized that I actually did have a full and coherent story in mind and might actually be able to do it. So now I'm editing that summary into an outline, adding in all the ideas that I wrote in my notes last year that I forgot about while writing the summary from memory. So, maybe I will actually attempt NaNoWriMo. I'm not sure the story is long enough, but I might as well try. This will all hinge on having the outline ready by Nov. 1, because if it's not, I know I won't feel motivated to stick out the entire month.