Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Lessons Learned at Music Camp
So I’m back from Botswana Music Camp. It took me a few days to recover but now I am back to my computer too. What a fantastic experience it was! I learned a few crucial things that, though learned from music, can be applied most everywhere. I thought I’d share.
1. Listening to others will show you your way. I found the most difficult thing for me was to listen to my other band members. I’d never played in a band before and I was used to playing my written music in my bedroom. In jazz, you must pay attention. You can’t cling to your notes. Someone may decide out of the blue to go into a solo and then decide he liked it so much he’ll continue. You must just keep your ears peeled, listen to the drum, the bass guitar, the keyboard and lead guitar and find when it’s time for you- they will show you, if you only let them.
2. No matter your age, it is always the time to take chances. I’ll be 45 in a few weeks. I’d never in my life experienced anything like Music Camp and before I left I began to panic. My trumpet playing is at beginner level, but I found a way to fit in. I got to know a whole new group of people who are talented and madly passionate about music. I felt uncomfortable at first, but that was good. Take chances, feel uncomfortable, go to that edge and jump off! Flying is fun, folks!
3. The stage is not a scary place. People who read here or who know me, know that I am deathly afraid of getting up in public to do anything. I move into my head and go into spazz mode. This has led me to missing many important events in my life- my first book launch, the AngloPlat/ BTA Awards, the Orange Botswerere Awards. These were all very important days in my life, but I don’t remember them because I was scared to death. Not anymore. We performed three times at Music Camp. The first time I was sickly nervous like normal, but when I got on stage I had to pay attention to others. I realised that people really don’t care about me. Even if I make a mistake, it’s okay- the world won’t stop. Once I realised that, the next two times were a breeze. Yeah, I wasn’t perfect- so what! I had fun, I did it, and most importantly- I was present- that’s what is important.
These were important life lessons and I feel changed by the experience. I will definitely go next year. In the meantime, I need to try and learn to play by ear and practice my notes. Maybe next year I’ll be the one zipping off on an improv solo! (maybe not)