Six weeks ago, Owen came home from school with a note that said he had decided to try some instruments in his school’s music program, and he was a candidate for the cello.

He was SO excited about the idea of playing an instrument; for a couple of days it was all he talked about – trying to decide between the cello – which his school thought he should play – and the viola, which he said he wanted to play. Ultimately, he went with the cello.

In the meantime, though, he convinced me to dig out my clarinet and play something for him.

After I graduated college, I played in a community wind ensemble for a few years. I gave up playing for good when I was pregnant with Owen – my first trimester exhaustion was enough to kill my desire to drive to Cambridge for the evening rehearsals and then drive home.

Not just that, but I was discovering an uncomfortable truth: I didn’t have the ability to play the way I heard the music in my head. I could HEAR it the way it was supposed to sound, but I just couldn’t make it sound that way.

So I quit playing altogether. And I do other things – I sing in the car and listen to the classical channel a lot. I tell myself that it’s okay to be a music appreciator. And it’s been okay.

When I pulled out my clarinet and tried to play some of the music I saved, I was completely intimidated. Holy shit, did I actually PLAY THIS STUFF? Wow, I used to be good. I tootled around and fudged a couple passages to Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto.

He was impressed, then bored satisfied. He hasn’t asked me again, though he has said we can make a family band once he learns how to play.

My clarinet sits in my office now, just under my writing desk.

I haven’t stopped thinking about it.

Making music was a part of my life for so long that I wonder if it’s keeping me from feeling whole. I have this feeling that maybe there’s a part of me buried somewhere.

And I have this THOUGHT that keeps niggling at me.

I want to make music again.

I honestly don’t have the time right now to try and play the clarinet again; I can’t commit to the practice time I need to get up to speed. I know it’ll come back, but it’s been 10 years and I kind of suck, and my days are spent already playing Life Tetris, and I’m not willing to trade off my triathlon training or writing for music.

BUT. There’s a chorus that rehearses on Monday nights two towns away from me, where new members are invited to audition for placement (aka: they won’t cut me!) in September. They do two concerts a season and take the summers off.

I might not be able to practice my clarinet in the car while I’m driving, but I sure can practice singing.

I think I might try it.


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