A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green
It's all your fault, Bowes & Bounds Connected! If I hadn't clicked on a post by Martin Stogden - who was shamelessly touting for complete beginners for the North London Brass - then I would still be curled up in front of the telly on Wednesday nights relishing the life of an OAP.
Instead, I have to get on a bus no matter what the weather and go to a church hall in Muswell Hill and try to get a note out of a strange instrument that seems determined to resist all my efforts!
Yes - I took the 'Nine Week Challenge' advertised on this very website. That means - Learn to play an instrument in just nine weeks and join the band....
I answered Martin's challenge by not intending to join myself, but just wishing him a lorra lorra luck and mentioning that my dad had played in the Sally Army band when he was a teenager. Big mistake! Martin charmed me into signing up. He even let me borrow a cornet - chosen by me because it wasn't heavy and would be easy to carry on the bus - and it was a bit different to a trumpet!
I turned up at a rehearsal and I was really, really nervous. I actually managed to get a note out of the darned thing! Much to my surprise! But when I looked down at this beautiful instrument, all shiny and so amazingly constructed - I fell in love...
So I have been going since late August - I'm not very good, let's be honest. But if you had told me that by the end of September I would have been playing 'Abide With Me' I would have laughed!
Don't get me wrong - if you join up you get a few valuable lessons from professionals in the half hour before the main band turn up - then they encourage you to sit in with the band and have a go. This is a really scary experience. But at the same time, such a valuable one. And it also shows just how generous and welcoming these musicians are to newbies like me. No matter how many dud notes I squeak out - and there are many, believe me - you never get anything but encouragement, advice and support.
But you have to respect the conductor! He is the Big Boss! I got told off for being too 'casual' at band practice and crossing my legs! I agree - professionalism is everything.
In the end, it is really down to you to get stuck in and learn and teach yourself. Unless you can afford a few lessons of course. I don't read music, and I have never played an instrument apart from a recorder. So if you join up you have to be prepared to have lots of encouragement - but not to be mollycoddled, and to be prepared to make the effort yourself. You won't find it difficult - it is such an enriching experience. You'll make some lovely friends as well.
Then again, don't beat yourself up if you are not consistently brilliant! I am looking forward to being 'fairly competent' - I will never be brilliant - there isn't enough time. I'm nearly 70. But I will be happy!
I didn't post about this before because I wanted to find out if I was going to stick it out. Last week I bought my own cornet and gave my borrowed one back. So I am now fully committed - not very good yet, but willing to give it a go
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