I still remember that week before a Thanksgiving break in which I asked the assistant band director if I could take home an oboe to learn it, simply because I was very interested in learning how to play the instrument (I had already played flute and saxophone).
“I seriously don’t think that you’re dedicated enough to play oboe, Dennis,” the evil assistant band director growled in a very, very condescending tone. (Background: Evil assistant band director hates the tenor saxes and also the saxes in general)
Are you freaking kidding me? He doesn’t understand how hard I work… I can totally do this.
Last year’s symphonic band oboist, who was gonna help me select an oboe, stood there in silence.
“What’s going on here?” the one who I believed to be my savior asked.
“Dennis wants to play oboe next season,” the evil assistant band director tells him.
“That’s great! We need more oboes anyways,” said who I believed to be the good guy.
“But here’s the thing. Oboe’s not something like sax that you can just pick up and learn. I see Dennis and <best friend> on the field, messing around all the time. He’s never focused, he’s doesn’t give a —” The evil assistant band director was cut off.
“Maybe all Dennis needs is a challenge. This might be the one that will show you he can dedicate himself,” said the good guy.
“Whatever you say then.” The evil assistant band director shrugged, and I could tell that he still hadn’t believed in me at all.
You know what ends up happening? After that week, while practicing by myself, the evil assistant band director stands behind me listening to me play. I pretended not to notice, and then he tapped me on the back just to tell me that I had really good sound. Whoa.
Maybe he isn’t so bad after all…
During concert season, the not-so-evil assistant was complimenting me like never before. During marching season, it was all lectures and scolding. Oh man. About three months later, I performed at the concert band competition with this oboe, along with a solo (or soli with a clarinet and trumpet as well). And you know what else? He told the band that that was the best performance of the song we did, which was Nimrod by Edward Elgar. I felt so proud of myself after that performance…
All this shows how even though the higher authority believes that you may not be able to do what you want, a little hard work and dedication to prove to them what you can do is probably all you need. It satisfies both parties. For me, I was… how do I say this…a hard worker who couldn’t take long, boring marching rehearsals that he believed were a waste of his time and should be cut down by half so he decided to mess around with his bestie and be considered “troublemakers.”
But then I realized that I’m playing sax again during marching season…
I wondered if I would now be yelled at for half the year and complimented for the other…
~Dennis “Double-Reeded Warrior”
By the way, those are my drawings…