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Music: An Escape

By , Dudley, MA
“Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars" -Les Brown

I make my way to the band room. Slower than usual, I guess; because I got 'caught' in the bell. The traffic that we see in the halls at my high school is ordinary, combining the classes from freshman to seniors easily makes the total number of kids over eight hundred. Enough to frazzle anyone. But for me, other circumstances weigh in. But I'll get to that later.

For now, I see myself walking into the band room, out of breath, sitting carefully on the bottom step of one out of three riser sets, opening my case, and slowly putting my clarinet together. One piece at a time. I see myself warming up, and then slowly starting to play the pieces I will perform at church in the summer months.

That was me. A week or so ago. Not much has changed. I'm still rehearsing. But I'm also battling things that seem like the nightmares we've all had at some point in our lives, the ones we always wake up from. Only this time, it isn't a dream, and I'm not waking up. I am awake. I have my moments of calmness and moments without pain and tightness. But I tend to have more moments with pain and all those other things more than I have ones without. Cerebral Palsy does that to you. Maybe it's just being a teenage girl, but I often view myself as different because of this.

I think maybe that's why I chose the path of a musician. For me, it’s an escape. When I’m playing that horn, I escape the pain and all the things that go with it. This is, more or less, the calmer part of my musical career. Being one of two altos’ in the church choir is the more stressful part. I’ve been in the choir for three years, and loved almost every minute of it. Practicing both my instruments can be pretty stressful at times when things aren’t going well.

As if my life wasn't stressed enough, throughout my high school years, I've been on a group that we call the Superintendent’s Advisory Council. We've done too many things to describe, but the one project that stuck out the most for me is when we brought back the Smoking Cessation class, in an effort to decrease smoking in the school district. This project hit home for me because my dad was a smoker for several years before I was born. In fact, I think that’s why my dad quit.

I met Nike Beaudry almost a year ago. Since I joined her crew of ‘clarinetists’ in training’ my life has changed. I’m one of her older students through Pakachoag Music School; I’m there on Thursday nights, building on the natural ability that I know I’ve had somewhere inside me for the three year span of off-and-on temporary quits do to various events.

For the past six years, the teen portion of the youth group at church has participated in several pageants and plays at Christmas and Easter. I have done everything from narration to main characters to non-speaking but important parts. Other projects we have accomplished include baking cookies for the shut-ins on Valentines Day, making blankets for pets in the local shelter, making sympathy cards for those in need, I have also played a few gigs for church on my horn, beneficial to those who listen and those involved.

As I type now, saying what has needed to be said and expressed, I remember the words of my US History teacher, Mr. Stowe, who said while the class was studying the new nation after the Constitution was drafted and was being run for a ‘test drive.’
“George Washington… makes the Constitution reality.”

He also said,
“Little Turtle keeps fighting…”

Combine those statements and you have what most of my life is focused on. If Washington made the Constitution reality, I can make my dream to be a professional musician a reality with a lot of hard work. And if Little Turtle kept fighting the settler’s in Ohio, I can keep fighting a muscular disability that is a disruption to my life.

This thought brings me back to the quote I used at the beginning of this paper. My dream of becoming a professional musician may be a very hard reality to achieve, but I’m shooting for the moon, and even if I miss, I may very well land among the stars.





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