When I begin thinking about what’s next I have flashbacks. Images of the past creep up in my mind painting pictures of dreams fulfilled and delayed…
My eyes close and I remember…I began playing the horn in the seventh grade not knowing the ups and downs that were ahead. With seven combinations each slide position provided an array of possibilities…
First position…I saw the unique instrument as an opportunity to express individuality. Just fun at first and then it quickly became serious with priceless support from community.
Second position…As I progressed I relived the feeling of newness. Remembering why I became a musician. Remembering why I continued practicing. Sometimes musical success outweighed financial compensation but I kept going. Warnings from elders of the pitfalls/reality of “the life” I continued learning and studying. When others snickered after I fell on my face, I kept playing and practicing.
What now? Record an album? Change path? As I reflect on experiences, lessons, mistakes and blessings, I constantly reevaluate what to do and how to make better choices. Third position…The musical relationship has been long and familiar. There are proud moments and other times when I wonder what I was thinking.
My eyes open…Here I am now. What do I need? I guess greater freedom within the system is desired and will be sought after. Fourth position…There is a certain reality being a trombonist represents and I refuse to perpetuate the “norm.”
What’s next? Fifth position…Seeing around corners takes away from the mystery of life regardless of ones belief in destiny. What I can say is that all my experiences to this point is preparing me for the next step.
I am thankful for the ability to create a melody outlining my heart’s desires. I am thankful for those who said ‘I can’ because they believed in me when I doubted myself. I am also thankful for those who said ‘I can’t’ because they motivated me to prove that anything is possible. Each time someone told me to my face ‘I can’t’ life allowed me to see those folks change their tunes when I experienced levels of success.
Lately I’ve removed myself from the grind of the day-to-day music scene contemplating the next step. I am blessed to have options. Sixth position…As a musician and a father, I seek a balance between performing and nurturing a family. If I could perform with world class musicians frequently and be there everyday for my children that would be ideal. Is it possible?
Seventh position…I use to wonder why some musicians passed up gigs, worked a day job and limit travel so they could be there. When I became I father, I fully understood why.
I will be 35 soon. As the anniversary of my birth approaches I reflect on where I am and where I want to be. I wonder what decisions will be made? Whatever happens next, I look forward to the growth of self, family and the original theme music of what is my life…