Monday, November 28, 2005

Trombone: Failure=Success

Background info for this article-My friend Ann and Bucky were married when they were in college a very long time ago, they have 2 offspring, that live in California...I have been a friend of Ann for over 10 years, she's like my grandma....theophostic is a spiritual healing of prayer that I can tell you about if you want more info, otherwise just enjoy the article for what it is!


I almost played trumpet at Bucky's funeral.

Ann had lent me his horn and I was getting my lip up to do it. I was surprised how well I sounded on it having never before actually played trumpet. In the end I decided it was best to get someone who could really do it well...for those at the funeral who didn't know, the hired gun played on Bucky's trumpet.

That led me back into the direction of playing my trombone again. I thought, 'what if?'

I've done this occasionally throughout the years, but to no avail. I lost it in college and was forced to change majors and schools due to this loss and never have been able to reclaim it.

For that and all the other failures I experienced during this time of my life, I've always looked back at this time as a thorn in my confidence, and were it not for God completely holding my hand-no, carrying me-all the way while I worked on and completed my music composition degree, I would have never graduated from college.

Some things have changed within the last 2 weeks, due to Ann's Theopostic work with me around that, and getting involved in a Trombone discussion group on the internet-I went out there to see how much I might get for one of my trombones if I sell it.

So I've been getting the trombone out again, slowly, and experiencing great success.

In fact, the last 2 weeks I've been really excited that the trombone was back in my life, and in my head I was planning all this great stuff that was going to happen, a cd entitled 'Organic Trombone'....a cross between the stuff I'm doing on organ and the stuff I might do on trombone.

Then at the end of last week I completely lost it. It was just as bad as before if not worse.

So I was pretty discouraged.

After that I did briefly visit the Trombone Newsgroup and saw a thread entitled 'Too Much Pressure on the Mouthpiece'. I simply read those words and moved on.

I practiced on Tuesday and tried the idea of 'Not Too Much Pressure on the Mouthpiece'.


Again last night, greater success than I have known in a long time!

What I have determined is that the pressure that I put on myself to perform is communicated in my body by the pressure I put on myself with the horn. I'm sure you can find some story moral in that one....

It all comes back to one day at a time and letting go, and moving slowly, baby steps, one step at a time, ad infinitum.

It's so hard to do when getting hopeful. I want to start dreaming again...dreaming turns to high expectations and high expectations turn to a bad day at the office....

There is a Bible verse-The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

I have always interpreted that to mean that no matter what God throws our way as being pawns in this game of life, the Christian attitude is to 'will' some kind of constant praise to God. Kind of like the difficult story of Job.

That's why I have problem expressing spirituality in words. Besides being difficult to do, I guess I haven't had much real joy to express within my spirituality. The loss of my ability to play trombone shook my faith in God, along with several other losses and failures that happened at the time.

Any success I might get would surely be taken away, just like the trombone was. I haven't been completely without good fortune-my organ trio is going well, and other things are weaving into being, but looking back I think I've been in the desert, as Paul was in the desert after his conversion. .

Completely broken at the time, spiritually, mentally, physically.... I had so many hopes and dreams that fell away as the trombone passed away. Of course, I was trying to do all the work myself. I certainly was standing on a house of longer.

I see it differently now. If the trombone had not been taken away from me, I wouldn't have felt necessary to move into the direction of music composition in college, and a return to keyboard instruments. These were important decisions that have had long lasting effects on me as an artist.

More impacting than if I had simply gotten a degree with the trombone.

You know the day that I was through being a trombonist? I was practicing to get ready to audtion for a new year of school and in frustration held the horn high above my head. I was ready to inflict some major trombone damage.

Instead, God spoke to me, and held my hands. I put it in it's case, I went to the College of Communication, I was totally through with music. The dept head said they would take me but that I had to talk with the dept chair at the music dept first.

I did. And that's when I was told they had just hired a music composition teacher and that summer I had composed some abstract expressionist pieces that were acceptable for me to be considered as a compostion major!
I never went back to the communication dept.

This morning I woke up with all of the anger that I direct at my trombone.

Soon I was planning how I would inflict my final revenge on colleagues and teachers that had all but mocked me in my years as a trombone student. I would now go on college tours with my organ and trombone, but I would refuse to play at the college where I started this journey, where colleagues I knew then are teachers now. I would play at other colleges in that town, and I would snub get the idea...resentment is drinking poison hoping someone else will die....

I began to pray for them and to turn it all over all possible college tours or anything else to God. He has been behind this all the time, but I can only see one day at a time.

And now that I'm beginning to see the revealing of what he's been doing, I can now say the gift of the trombone is nothing I earned on my own, but of gift from God to be used in a way yet to be determined.