Last night we held the first band practice with our new band leader, a young college student named Faris. Faris is a senior at San Jose State University, majoring in jazz. He plays piano and trombone. But not at the same time, har har.
Faris proved to be an excellent band leader, and we the members got a lot of good out of this first session. Unlike the former band leader, whom we much loved, Faris pays attention to the rhythm section. He asked me to turn up my volume! Omigod, I like this guy. Then he asked me to play a few lines of the sheet music, and I did (thank goodness I have been learning sight reading of notes). That went well.
Faris told me to be bold, to hit those notes with vigor, not timidly, as the band, and especially the soloists, need a strong rhythm section to keep them on course during solos. He also implied that we need not follow the notes perfectly literally, that it is okay to throw in some flourishes that are not in the sheet music. Jazz is about improvisation, after all.
In other words, "once again, with feeling."
I was into it last night. My sight reading is the best it has ever been, though it is not as good as I want it to be, yet. I will renew my practice with increased vigor.
The new practice site is in the band room of a junior high school, and it is crowded with chairs and equipment. I didn't have time to bring in my stool, so I stood for the whole hour and a half of practice. To my surprise, I didn't tire, my legs didn't hurt, and my arthritic right shoulder didn't ache. Also, I didn't get lost! I must be getting in shape, but I think the intense focus also was a factor. By god, I am going to be a double bass player!
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