About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Music Monday – At one time, everyone was a beginner

Like many people, I’ve always had a love of music. My interest in music though was not just listening, but wanting to play instruments. I can distinctly remember even as a very young kid wanting to play something. Part of that was just my natural interest in trying to understand how things worked. Probably a negative associated with my interest was that I didn’t have the attention to stick with one thing for very long so I understand the basics of a lot of instruments but I’ve never stuck with any long enough to become very competent on any. Even now as I have begun to play my saxophone again after many years of being away, I have to quash the urges to take up the tuba or trombone or bass clarinet. They are all so interesting and if I had all the time (and money) in the world, I would try my hand at them all. But for now, I am going to work on the saxophone. Fortunately, being able to play in the New Horizons Band at the MSU Community Music School has given me some direction and incentive to practice and become a better musician on the instrument I have. And yes, I do practice. Probably not as much as I should or would like to but I still have a full-time job. NHB does have many people still working as well as many that are retired. It is a mix of all ages and skill levels. That range of skill levels makes NHB unique in its ability to accept new members all the time. All you need to join, is a willingness to learn and a love of wanting to play music.

I feel that on the range of skill levels, I am still a beginner, maybe a seasoned beginner since I have been with the band for about a year now. And I have to continually remind myself that being a beginner is OK, that it takes time to learn anything new. That everyone starts out as a beginner. Before I started in the band I did what I think is very common. I started asking questions like “how hard is it to take up an instrument as an adult”. If you search on Google with that question, the results frequently landed on sites from music teachers or schools where they say that is the most frequently asked question from every adult that they work with. As an adult, we often feel very accomplished in our own field of endeavor but have forgotten how many times we had to overcome challenges before we became competent. To learn an instrument as an adult, you have to think like a child. Don’t be embarrassed by small failures, let them be learning experiences. I frequently miss notes and struggle with syncopated rhythms or cut time. I circle those sections on the music sheet as we play and when I go home, I work through those sections so that maybe I will be able to play through them in class next time. It is part of my personal journey to become better doing something that I have always loved. I remind myself that I am not trying to become a professional musician, I am doing this because I enjoy playing music. NHB has given me the opportunity to do something I have wanted to do since I was a kid and to have fun doing it with a group of other like-minded individuals.

New Horizons Band at the MSU Community Music School is now recruiting New Members. If you would like to talk to me in person or have questions about joining, I will be at the Wild Birds Unlimited East Lansing store this Saturday (January 20, 2018) from 10am to about noon and would be happy to answer any questions. You can also write me with questions at zarkadan@gmail.com. The new semester starts the week of January 22 and you are welcome and encouraged to visit during any practice to see what we do. You can also visit the Community Music School Sunday January 21, 2018 between 3-5pm during their Open House to get more information.

Related Articles:
Music Monday http:/music-monday.html
MSU Community Music School http:/msu-community-music-school.html

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