Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

A musical smile


If you’re a Facebook friend of mine you know I’ve been working on a pesky Shostakovitch piece, Dance 1, for this Sunday’s community band concert. It’s hard. Not the key it’s arranged in, or, really, any particular part of it, done at a manageable tempo. But this one is presto, which translates to really really really fast. Please click on the link above, it’s a YouTube post of a group playing the same arrangement we’ll be doing, a three minute and eleven second thrill ride.

There’s a whole other page too.

I let this piece stress me out.

I’ve practiced many nights, starting at a slower tempo and working out difficult fingerings, going over and over passages until my fingers could remember what my eyes and brain couldn’t always coordinate. Every evening this past week I worked at a faster tempo.

I shouldn’t let playing music stress me. The whole idea behind a community band is to provide an opportunity for people to continue playing after school. People that aren’t professional musicians but who loved to play as young people have the chance to reconnect with others just like them, all working toward a common goal – make some music and have some fun.

In our band several generations are represented, and that’s special. We have people that some would label elderly and kids just getting their drivers licenses. This season I’m sitting between a tenth grade boy and a ninth grade girl. Sometimes the sheer drama of their lives overwhelms me. I’m not typically a lover of kids. Individually there have been some I really like, but mostly I think they’re best enjoyed at a healthy distance.

But here’s where this week’s smile comes from.

During a break.

Tuesday was the last rehearsal before our concert. Everyone was pretty worried about this particular piece. When the conductor asked us to pull out Dance 1 we all took a collective deep breath. And then we began. One hundred fifty beats per minute, and the music just soared. The runs climbed and dipped, the trills thrilled, the beat pulsed. And when we got to the end of page four the conductor put her baton down and sort of hugged herself.

And she smiled.

In the back row of clarinets there were quiet grins and a few high fives. Kids on both sides of me sat back satisfied. The ninth grader told me she liked sitting back there with us. I told her I liked having her next to me too. The tenth grader, who generally doesn’t engage with me actually looked at me and smiled.

Music brought a whole bunch of disparate people together. Music made us all work hard for a common goal. Music made us all, for that moment, beyond happy.

Music made us smile.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

24 thoughts on “A musical smile

  1. A fun piece of music. I don’t see many rests on the part that you are playing… Yeah, but music does connect us. And it is often worthy of a smile. I picked up my trumpet a few years ago and thought of joining a community band, but it took away from my other music endeavors and I discovered that I had to chose, so I continued with piano and composition. Nice smile 🙂


    • No, not many rests, none when it’s time to turn the pages….so I skip a bit and do that. I tried making extra copies of pages so I didn’t have to turn them, but the copy paper pages kept falling on the floor at inopportune moments.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Dawn–I have the biggest grin on my face. What a great post. Music made you smile. Me, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That was quite a ride. Made me smile. Not being a musician, I’m always amazed at what musicians do with their instruments or their voice. And especially in group, coordinating it all. Sounds like your practice paid off. Will look forward to hearing about the concert.


  4. You can’t imagine how wide my smile is reading this, Dawn! YES!!! Community Band is the best — I’m ever so glad I took the leap and joined. It’s broadened my world immensely. Like yours, our symphonic band is a disparate group of people. I sit between a college student on one side and a 77-year-old on the other. That’s a FAST piece you’re playing — I’m sure you’ll all rise to the challenge and the performance will be delightful!


  5. Super experience! Music unites all ages.


  6. I am listening to it now, OMG, how did you managed that beat! I love listening and watching live orchestra. What is your instrument?


  7. Dawn, what a great weekly smile! I so appreciate that you participate in a community band and the beauty of this. How cool that you came together at the end – right before the concert! And, I hear you about allowing it to stress you out. Sending you lots of blessings.


  8. Pingback: The Weekly Smile Recap 2/18/2019 – 2/24/2019 #weeklysmile | Trent's World (the Blog)

  9. Dawn … Music certainly does so much! But playing when not stressed is so much better … then again, adrenaline gets going.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So many things to love about this smile Dawn. Thanks so much for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

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