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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.



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 22nd, 2015 08:27 pm (UTC)
Oh, no! NaNoWriMo! That means all of our favorite authors will be off doing that instead of writing here...

Well, good luck if you decide to do it!
Oct. 22nd, 2015 10:56 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I know. There are so many times I come to LJ and click Friends Feed just to look for new stories to entertain me, and there's nothing!! November is going to be a wasteland. :(

Thanks! I probably won't. I don't think I need the stress. I work better when I'm not stressed. And honestly, the point of NaNoWriMo is to give you some impetus to write. If you're writing already, why do you need to do it, other than maybe for the bragging rights?
Oct. 24th, 2015 02:46 am (UTC)
I won't be! I don't do NNWM because I don't have time. November is absolutely the worst month for me because there's my anniversary, three family birthdays, and Thanksgiving. All my spare time is taken up with other stuff and I can hardly get much long-term writing done.

Maybe I'll try to fill in the anticipated dearth of fanfic with some short one shots, if people send me ideas. Also, I really need to finish a certain poetically inspired fic... :)
Oct. 27th, 2015 05:42 pm (UTC)
Ooh, that would be nice! Yes, the Doctor and Donna need to finish off in poetry....

I'm not going to ask you about your other unfinished business, because that's a bit difficult to write when there's so much going on around you.

Happy upcoming anniversary! (and enjoy all those birthdays, as well as Thanksgiving...)
Oct. 27th, 2015 11:26 pm (UTC)
Please please please finish that fic! I cannot wait! :)

I'm still not quite sure I'll do NaNoWriMo. The "MiniWriMo" thing that a_phoenixdragon is doing sounds so much more manageable.
Oct. 23rd, 2015 03:06 am (UTC)
Lookit you!! Timpani can be really hard to get right...sounds like you are doing awesome there!! Eeee!!

And yay NaNo!! Whoot!! Go for it, honey!!

Oct. 24th, 2015 02:50 am (UTC)
Timpani is the best. I loved playing them when I was in orchestra, but it's been a number of years. I always wanted to be like this guy from Space Balls:

I am cheering on the NaNo people from the sidelines. I can't do it because I just don't have the time to dedicate, but good luck! I've got a few students who try it every year and a few of them have succeeded.

Oct. 27th, 2015 11:30 pm (UTC)
Right now, I'm pretty much just banging on them with the mallets. I need to learn how to hit them correctly to draw the sound out. But at least I can roll tolerably well.

Oh, every evil mastermind needs a timpani player to follow them around! :D
Oct. 24th, 2015 07:11 pm (UTC)
This sounds fantastic! Good luck with NaNoWriMo if you do end up doing it :D
Oct. 27th, 2015 11:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks! We'll see how it goes... :)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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