Pain & Regret

I haven’t worked for several weeks because of back pain. The pain also affects my ability to practice as much as I would like. The weight of my go-to saxophone is pretty taxing on my neck and upper back. However, I am getting in some quality time with the horn.

Even though I’m getting quality time with the horn, I am not getting better because I am not practicing some fundamental things that I should know by now. At this age, I find it harder to practice some of the more difficult items which would make me a better musician.

I practiced long hours and whatever music I needed to get better in college. I was determined to be the best player possible. I certainly was not the best player at my college. There were quite a few saxophonists who were much better than I was. It didn’t matter, though. I didn’t have the money to continue going to school. OR, maybe I just gave up.

The latter is more likely. Over the years, I have had a habit of giving up. The money issue was real enough, but I think I just used it as an excuse to quit.

I loved music enough; I didn’t think I was smart enough or had what it took to finish the degree. Scared? Yes. I don’t know why, though. I know now that I could have done it, but courage comes with age. I regret not finishing my education.

I didn’t think I wanted to be a teacher (band director), but I wish I were at this point in life. I often think about teaching kids to be better players.

In some areas, teaching lessons without credentials is possible. However, in most places, a teaching certificate is required. Going back to school is not an option because I’m too old, tired, and without the necessary drive.

I don’t know why I went into all that. Oh, Back pain! It has kept me from being employed. Now I can’t do Uber because sitting in the driver’s seat for long periods hurts my back. And pain also affects how long I can practice. I already know that playing a 2-3 hour gig ends with me taking too much Tylenol. Then the next day, I would have to walk very gingerly to keep from irritating my back more.

I have time to practice, and I need to use some discipline and practice things I need to improve. However, pain is like an opponent trying to defend against any success. Sometimes, I wonder why I am even trying. All that to say, I’m bummed out, I guess.

I am a musician at the heart of things, and I can’t stop. Even if I never get to play in front of an audience again, I can’t stop trying to be a better player. I don’t know what I’m doing.

When I do practice, I enjoy myself, so that’s something.


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