My music ensemble started its rehearsals for the season last night. It was great to see some of the other musicians again after the summer, but it was even more fun to dig into the new music. I don't really practice over the summer. The problem is that I'm probably at about the highest skill level I can achieve without practicing a lot, and I know I just don't have the time to devote to that. Especially once the baby gets here. I'm a much better ensemble player than I am a soloist anyway. My tone is better at blending than standing out, and my ear for tuning and volume is pretty sensitive.
Performing music is about the only thing I do in a large group like that. I don't compete on sports teams (for which the sports teams are probably thankful). I've done some volunteer work, but it doesn't involve working in a large group. The faculty at our school work together by having similar goals, but we have a lot of autonomy, and don't work together in large groups very often. I don't belong to a place of worship. So this ensemble is the only place where I feel like (uh-oh...cliché coming) I'm part of something bigger. I look forward to the music, of course, but the sense of community and mutual respect is almost as important. I also enjoy letting someone else be in charge of my time instead of having to be responsible for being in charge of other people's. I'll probably miss our final concert of the season because I won't be able to commute from China for all the rehearsals. But I hope I'll be able to keep playing there at least sometimes after I'm a dad.
Anyway, the music is mostly pretty good this time (it can be a drag if you don't like it), and I've performed several of the pieces before, which gives me a decent head start on learning the music. Pretty soon we'll start school. Back to busy mode. Except now...I have to mow the lawn.