January 27, 2008

My apologies, dear neighbors

I played my clarinet tonight for the first time in -- well, about a year, to be honest. And it was, to be honest, pretty awful.

I haven't played clarinet seriously -- that is, beyond getting the instrument out and testing my luck -- in about five years, which is quite the shame. When I played, I loved it -- and I wasn't bad. I could practice for hours at a time. I made it to the districts level of festivals in high schools, and I played in the concert band in college.

And I've missed it since I stopped playing. There's something very therapeutic -- all the intense breathing, perhaps? -- about playing for a few hours and totally sinking into the music. There's nothing else like it, really. I can do cardio any time I want -- but unless I'm in an intense yoga class, it's likely I'm still thinking about work or other anxiety-inducing things while I'm working out. When I'm playing clarinet -- with my concentration divided between my breath, the notes on the page and where I'm placing my fingers, there's definitely no room for worries.

So here's to a rekindled hobby of working with the tool that made Benny Goodman famous. It's unlikely I'm going to accomplish much more than annoying my neighbors. But if I stop worrying for even one hour each week in order to play, even that will certainly be worth the trouble.