I Can Only Hear You

“Ric – you’re playing too loud.  I can only hear you.”

I had not played in a band since my sophomore year of high school. It was with “fear and trepidation” and with a lot of encouragement from a good friend of mine who was playing in the band that I decided to show up for practice.

The conductor of the College of Lake County Concert Band welcomed me, making me feel part of the band from the first moment I arrived. A few minutes into the band practice, my nerves settled down.  I became laser focused on hitting the right notes.  To my surprise, everything seemed to be going well.

At the end of that first practice, the conductor asked to see me. How terrific, I thought.  Just one practice and he wants to speak with me.  His opening comment had caught me totally off guard.  He continued to say:

“Please listen to your fellow trumpet and cornet players and to those around you and to the rest of the band.”

The conductor reminded me in his direct way that practices and the concert we were preparing needed to be focused on all band members working together and listening to each other.  There would be times, of course, when the music featured a section of the band or a specific member, but even then, always in a way that complemented the rest of the band.

The conductor never again had to tell me that I was playing too loud during my several years of being a member of the College of Lake County Concert Band.

Since that memorable personal moment in time, I’ve often closed my eyes with a smile on my face and can almost once again hear those very helpful words of timely instruction and correction from this terrific band director.

“I Can Only Hear You!”