Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Musical A.D.D.

Yes, yes I know I haven't blogged in a long time. I knew it was going to happen. It happens to me every time I try to keep a journal. I get excited about writing and I do well for a few weeks and then I get too behind and I stop. It's a vicious cycle. Anyway, I'm back now. I found that I miss writing down my feelings. I have so much on my mind lately and I'm sure Morgan is getting tired of me repeating myself.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about myself as a musician. I started playing the violin in 4th grade. I took lessons and really enjoyed it. I was also taking piano lessons. Then in 7th grade, I started developing what I like to call Musical ADD. I would sit in orchestra, wishing I was playing a different instrument. So in 8th grade I started playing cello as well. I loved playing both and I had so much fun being in two different orchestras. Then I wanted to play the bass. My mom said no because she didn't want to haul it around everywhere.Then in 10th grade I found a flute in our closet that my sister had only used for two weeks once. I asked my friend to show me how to play it. The first time I practiced the flute at home, my dad came in and told me that I should stop. He said I was already playing violin, piano, and cello, and that I didn't need another instrument. I didn't listen to him. I joined the band and kept learning how to play the flute. Then in 11th grade I joined marching band. That was one of the best decisions I ever made. I made amazing friends and learned so much about myself. But I still had ADD. My senior year, I picked up the bari sax. Then I went to college and discovered how little time I had for everything I wanted to do. I played piccolo in marching band and cello in symphony. If not for marching band, there wouldn't have been much to keep me at school. Then I auditioned for the Nauvoo Brass Band and was able to serve as a performing missionary (take that Dad, I can play the flute!). Now I'm at BYU-I majoring in music education with an emphasis in orchestra. I'm playing cello and taking lessons and playing in orchestra.I chose to do cello at school because I thought that's what I could be the most successful at.

The other day I got really frustrated in orchestra. I'm not the best cellist, I know this, but I feel like I should be better. I was wondering if I should never have added all those other instruments and just focused on cello. I could have spent more time on it and been so much better at it. I was wondering whether it would be better to be really good at one thing than to be fairly decent at several things. I thought about it a lot, wondering if I made the right decisions. Then yesterday I played my flute for the first time in a while. That's when I remembered how much I love it. I couldn't tell you what my favorite instrument is to play. I love to play the piano. I love to play the violin. I love to play the flute. I love to play the cello. I love to play the piccolo. I love to play the bass (that's what I'm learning at school right now). Music is my life. I am grateful for every musical opportunity I have had. My life would be so different if I wasn't in marching band. If I never learned to play the flute, I would never have gone to Nauvoo and met my husband. I know I'm not the best cellist and I'm starting to accept that. I will practice and do my best, but I'm never going to be the best. But I have the opportunity to play other instruments, which other people in orchestra don't have. I'm so happy to be in my string methods class where I'm learning how to play bass and viola. A lot of people in my class complain about having to learn a new instrument and say that theirs is so much better. I'm not like that. I LOVE to learn new instruments. It is my passion. I will never be a professional on any of them (I just don't have the time), but  I'm so blessed to have the ability to play so many instruments. It's what makes me happy. Next semester I'm taking the brass methods class. It will be hard, but I know I will enjoy it.

Moral of the story - it's ok that I'm not the best cellist. As long as I do my best and can pass my juries, I will be ok. I'm grateful for my talent that allows me to live my passion. I'm so grateful for my parents, who let me take on new challenges and payed for lessons and instruments. I'm grateful for my many teachers who inspired me and helped me to be a better musician. I'm grateful for the gift of music and the blessings it brings to my life. I love music and I love playing instruments.

P.S. I still have ADD. My current fascination is the harp. I hope I get to play it someday.


  1. Ah, Emily! I'm so glad to hear you sounding positive about this again.

    And whenever you feel you can't play the cello just think of how I'd sound if I were playing it. :) You are a very talented young woman!

    Thanks for writing again—we miss seeing you and when you don't write we certainly miss hearing from you.

  2. Hey Emily! I took the link to your blog on your Facebook wall as an open invite to read, which makes me excited because I love blogging and reading blogs!

    After reading this post I all of a sudden have marching band nostalgia. Good times in the flute section! Hope all is going well in Idaho! You are great!

  3. AS ALWAYS, another 5 star post from Embo. I have always been slightly envious of your talents. I think it's fantastic that you know so many instruments. I am kind of kicking myself for not playing the piano anymore. It became increasingly difficult after I got married and didn't have a piano at my disposal or structured lessons.

    The other day, Richard and I were listening the score from Transformers (can you believe that?) and we were trying to identify some of the instruments. We weren't very good at it, and we talked about you in that conversation. We think we heard a bass. But, pshaw, what do we know. Hahaha.

    I love you.

  4. Reading this very late, but...seriously, if you want to be a music educator, what better way to prepare than learning a whole bunch of instruments yourself? You have learned them, not perfectly, but you can play them, so you can teach them and be an example to your students. You will be an awesome music teacher!