I finished my project yesterday evening. It has some personal meaning which I will explain, but first the project:
The technical details. I painted the background fabric with watercolor. I wanted a rainbow of color to contrast with the instrument’s black. I stitched the instrument next. I used silver beads and metallic threads for details. I made swirls with glass seed beads and made the border and the music with silver and gold metallic threads. There is a lot of shine and glitter. You pretty much see none of that in the photo.
Now about why I picked the clarinet for my project. I took up clarinet when I was 9. I knew right away when I saw it that it was the instrument for me. I played on until the end of high school. I gave it up my last year to take AP classes for college. I thought that was it for me. I was “good” enough, but no star, and I never thought of myself as especially musical.
Now back to the present, some 20 years later. Some members of Mr Floss Box’s family play instruments and sing (guitars mostly). Anyways, Mr Floss Box’s father in particular, heard I used to play and thought I should get an instrument and play with them. I just said maybe. Then one day in January we were at a flea market in town and I saw an old clarinet. I couldn’t believe no one had already picked it up (flea markets are mega-popular here!), so I grabbed it and checked the price after. It was cheap, so it came home. It’s a bit old and needs refurbishing, but the clarinet is definitely playable. I found a bunch of free music online, and now I practice everyday. It’s opened a new world for me.
Music and making music is special. It is fabulous for the brain. So much is going on all at once, motor and sensory neurons are firing, the fine motor coordination from complicated movements, listening to the sound, reading the notes and anticipating what is ahead, keeping tempo. I do believe this is superior to brain games, and you have the potential to make something beautiful.
I’ve learned in the years not to give up so easily just because something is “hard”. It’s a useful lesson for everyone. I believe we are all capable of much more than we think we are if we just are willing to believe in ourselves and not give up when it feels difficult. (It’s making our way through the difficulty that makes us grow) So, when I come to hard areas in the music, I practice the fingering over and over, gradually it comes. Day by day, I improve. And most importantly, I enjoy the music.