My euphonium playing days are over. Rant 3 (of 4)

So it seems my euphonium playing days are over.

I’ve known this for a while now but I have not had the gumption to write about it. My fine motor skills in my hands are getting worse. I can’t push my valves down and get my fingers to come back up. This is another painful loss that MS has stolen from me.

Please; I’m not mining for sympathy here. I am just journaling about how shitty this disease continues to be. I truly am finding writing about things in blog format kind of cathartic.

I love music so much. MS still hasn’t stolen that love from me, thank God. I love to listen to, and perform it. And quite honestly, I think I’m fairly good at it.
Humility be gone:)

I can sing and up until now I’ve been able to play.

Growing up in the salvation Army, I started learning how to play a brass instrument around the same time I learned to walk. And I fell in love with it. My entire history of playing euphonium up until my mid 20's was in a brass band. I owe a lot to banding. I think it saved my life growing up. It kept me out of trouble. I relied on it during my parent’s divorce as a teenager. The discipline of going to band practice every single week, and then practicing on my own, became
my ritual,
my rhythm,
my salvation,
my best friend.

Then I went to Bible college and things changed for me. I begin to explore new and deeper ways to understand God. And in my own personal spiritual journey I had to acknowledge that banding had become my God and that I needed to leave it, sacrifice it, in order to connect with God in a different way. I left the Salvation Army and by default left banding at that point in time. And I never picked up another instrument for more than 15 years.

Then in my late 30s I picked up a euphonium to see if I could still play it. Enough time had passed that I wasn’t worried about it dominating my life and taking the place of God. I don’t remember the details as to how I came across one, but I did. And I discovered it was like riding a bike. Except the muscles in my lips (embouchure) had gone soft so I could barely play for more than just a few minutes without my face being on fire. I was turning 40 and all I wanted as a gift was a new euphonium. I found one at a good deal thanks to a friend from my old Salvation Army days, and bought it as my midlife crisis gift. No shiny red sports cars for me as of yet.. Just a euphonium.

Then my buddy from church, who is an excellent songwriter, invited me to play in a Folk/rock type band with him. I jumped at the chance. So I became the euphonium playing background singer in this band we called Midrash.(You can look up what a Midrash is online. It’s beautiful. And a funny band name...)

That band lasted a few years until life got in the way, and I loved it. Then I began playing euphonium and singing in our worship band at church. That was enough to scratch my musical itch.

Anyways, now my euphonium days are officially done. I’ll live. But it is a tough pill to swallow. Maybe it’s time to start writing a little more music...

Plus, much to the chagrin of my mother and my wife, my fingers are still good enough to pick my nose.

So there’s that…

3 thoughts on “My euphonium playing days are over. Rant 3 (of 4)”

  1. I hear you. I have a similar but different disease and it means I can’t sing like I used to. No more choir or worship team for me. But at least I can still sing on good days at my own pace with my family at home. So there’s that.

    Thanks for sharing your rants and your losses. It’s helpful to hear other people processing similar feelings.

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