Friday, February 8, 2008

It sounds so forlorn

The other day, I got together with some friends who were forming a band. I seem to remember mention of a quintet, but there were seven or eight people there when I arrived. Oh well :)

I had assumed they wanted me to play the drums, but it turns out that they desperately needed someone on French horn. I’d seen plenty of horns and trumpets played and knew the basic principles, so I decided to go for it.

Luckily, they had an old horn there that I could use. I opened the case and put the horn together. I was a little hesitant to put my mouth on the mouthpiece and considered going into the kitchen to boil water and cleanse it, but I ended up just going for it. It had that taste distinctive to old metal -- kind of dusty-like.

I blew once and no sound came out. Then my mind was caught back to the many times in Jr. High band when Mr. Hill would explain proper blowing technique to the lung-users. I suddenly remembered the word “embouchure.” Just as I thought of “embouchure”, I thought the thought I always think when I think of that word: “How do you spell embouchure? It starts with an e.... and it has a ch somewhere near the end... and then there’s that French-ish ou ‘round about the middle.”

By now the horn was responding well to my buzzing puffs and I eagerly tried keying some notes. I rummaged through the case and found a book describing all the fingerings... and though the instructions didn’t seem all that consistent, I felt confident in my ability to play in the group.

About this time, a man entered the room and took a seat in front of us. He seemed drunken, and he seemed to be in pain. He sat slouchily in the chair with a wincing look on his face. He reminded me of William Wilburforce (from Amazing Grace) when he was in pain. He turned out to be the conductor. And though he was drunk, he was agreeable. We practiced a bit before I left...

And then I woke up.

I recently heard on the NPR (I think that’s where I heard it) someone’s theory that our dreams are really emergency training simulations; that we dream through situations in order to prepare ourselves for potential emergencies. Phew! That’s a relief! Now I can feel confident if the Wincing Drunkenman ever needs a horn player. And no big deal if I suddenly lose my ability to fly... or if someone needs me to do a ventriloquist act with a shaggy, blue parrot for a high school basketball game half-time show.

What are you prepared for?

(And this is a picture of a walkway lightly covered in snowflakes - 10 points to whoever knows where it is)

1 comment:

Dan Kim said...

Somewhere by the Clyde