I hated challenges when I was a kid. And I don’t like them anymore as an adult. But in life we always face challenges. And most of the time challenges make us better when we finally overcome them or at least give our best effort.
In my case, I love the thing that challenges me the most, music. I have always loved it; listening and making it. Everything about music, except for maybe listening to it, is a challenge for me. And since I’m older it is even more challenging.
I did a foolish thing when I quit playing a few years ago. Now I have to relearn the things I have forgotten. It is super frustrating. I hated practicing scales when I was first learning, and I find it frustrating having to relearn them. My brain and my hands are no longer married to one another. The brain has all the information but the hands are slow to respond.
I am trying to reconnect my hands and fingers to the circuits in the brain. I remember how to do it. I am having to play everything slower using a metronome. Eventually, they will fall in line with one another.
I am also slowly building physical endurance because my embouchure is weak and I don’t last very long playing. I can play up to 2 hours at a time now, and it’s getting better.
I am challenged by my lack of consistency in my tone. I used to have a beautiful consistent tenor sax tone. At this point, I only hear it sometimes. I’m a little unsure about why or how to fix it. Oh yea, LONG TONES. And that’s the other thing; my breath is not lasting. I’m constantly out of breath.
I have forgotten a lot of music theory. I don’t think I could arrange a simple chart for a small group with horns; something I did on occasion while in the Navy for some of the groups I played with.
So yes, I’m challenged right now. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. Probably because I am placing myself under too much pressure to get back everything I once had. But there are too many challenges to approach it this way. I can only take it one day at a time; one challenge at a time. And the only challenge I feel I can handle at the moment is to try to be more consistent with my practice times. If I can do that I believe the rest will happen more naturally.