So I went to rehearsal for Cabaret today, and yet again, I feel utterly outclassed and sort of useless. I'm not outclassed, mind you, in terms of overall tone and playing ability, but outclassed so far as the quality of my instrument, quality of past instruction, and depth of my knowledge goes. I know what I've done before and what I've had to figure out. I can play alto music on clarinet and transpose flute to clarinet on the fly, for instance, but I don't have a $1,000-plus wood clarinet, nor have I ever taken private lessons—and I don't plan to ever take private lessons if I can help it. I don't have time to completely relearn how to play and "fix" my embouchure, which is what I suspect is what would be required were I to try taking lessons. I may at some point get a wood clarinet, but considering how much my education is costing at this point and the fact that I'd rather buy a car than a clarinet when I do get a real paying job, I doubt that'll happen anytime soon.
I'm a good player, but unsophisticated, I suppose. I don't use Vandoren reeds—I tried them once or twice and hated 'em, found 'em impossible to play on. I know, those are supposed to be "broken in," but I don't need that, y'know? Mitchell Luries and Rico Royals work just fine right out of the box. I generally dislike all the faux sophistication horn players pretend to have, what with obsessively adjusting their ligatures and talking about their embouchures and pulling out and pushing in, most of which usually does a whole lot of nothing.
As far as music goes, I can play pretty much anything I see, but I usually just hope that no one asks me what key something is in, as I was never officially taught how to figure that out, as far as I can recall. I never needed to be able to do that. The whole atmosphere there just annoys me, though. They all talk in very technical language, as they're fluent in that sort of idiom...whereas I just play. I've always gotten along fine with the clarinet and alto I own (which only cost $85 and about $250, respectively) and my ability to sight-read. My sight-reading is rusty right now after nine months off between the end of Pippin and now, but I can still hold my own pretty well...
I get the same kind of feeling when I'm among university music students as I did when I was at the music camp at the Webster University School of Music the summer before freshman year with these people who knew people from years of lessons there and at COCA and places like that...All-State Band...that sort of thing. While they were talking about doubling on oboe and crazy stuff like that, I was just struggling to read the 32nd-note runs the master class instructor shoved in front of me.
Again with rehearsal, though, the flute chick still annoys me—sure, she can play incredibly well, she can sight-read in six sharps or flats with no hitches and has a great tone—but she's weirdly antisocial. She acts like it's a waste of her time to show up at rehearsals and hang out with the other players and deign to listen to me stumble throught sight reading. I know she's one of the director of bands' golden girls, so to speak, so perhaps that explains it. Maybe all this jazzy music is "below" her.
As for being antisocial, I don't talk in rehearsal very much, but it's for much the same reason I don't say a lot in Christianity class—I'm not confident that I'm very fluent in the idiom at hand, so I shut my mouth and try not to make much noise. I'm not very good at being social in any sense anymore, when it comes down to it. I sit here in front of my computer too much, perhaps. Then again, I don't really like most people...but eh. This has all been said before.