For any brass player this is a busy time of year, this year I seem to have overbooked myself to a ridiculous level, even by my own standards ~ this last weekend alone I have played in three performances, conducted two rehearsals and played in another two rehearsals! I won't say that this was without stress, although there is more stress in getting to the point of the performance with all the necessary players, music, stands etc. than in the actual performance itself.Cyrsti's Condo JJ has been writing about how transitioning as a trans person is selfish, it dawns on me that being an active musician can also be quite selfish ~ I certainly wouldn't have been able to have weekends like this if I was still married. I often think that I am trying to do too much, but then I reflect on all the things I do and cannot think of any one that I would be happy to stop. This monster is of my own creation! In many ways my biggest concern is that by doing so much, I may be diluting the quality of some of what I do, I may not be giving of my best because of being stretched ~ maybe a problem to be addressed in the new year, I certainly don't have time to think about it now.
But all this is beside the point, after yesterday's concert the band joined the audience for a cup of tea and a mince pie, I had a nice conversation with a lady, maybe just a little older than me. She checked that I was indeed the tuba player and observed how unusual it was to see a lady playing the tuba, or trombone (our first trombone is also female, but a good deal younger than me). This gave me the opportunity to get on to one of my hobby horses about how instruments do not have gender! There is nothing about a tuba, a trombone or indeed a double bass or a drum kit that makes them fundamentally male, yet even now the idea that they may not be ladylike or appropriate seems to persist in some areas.
|WOW Greeting the marchers in Parliament Square|
|Tell me again how unfeminine brass instruments are!|
The WOW Orchestra Brass Section 2018
The other side of this is the many young women who are discovering the joy of playing tubas, trombones etc. I recently played at the National Concert Band Festival at Watford, there was a youth band there with three tubas players, two of them were girls! I miss the WOW Orchestra and meeting these young women. The more women who do things that were traditionally considered male preserved then the more young women will see that these things are available and will pursue them them.