When I first picked up the clarinet, it was completely foreign to me. It didn’t feel securely balanced on my right thumb. It felt wobbly. So instead of just cupping my lips gently on the mouthpiece, I dug in with my front teeth. The marks remain today.
I eventually learned to hold it correctly. To trust the balance. But it didn’t come overnight. It took years. I had to practice daily. I knew I would never be great at it – but that was never really the point. I practiced to be a part of something. The routine was comforting. I knew I would forever hear the music.
When a Benny Goodman song comes on the radio. I understand that I wasn’t the best, but I was a part of this beautiful music. I always will be.
I saw my mom’s picture in the paper today. Oh, how I wanted to love her perfectly. She deserved that. She was Benny Goodman and I was second chair in the fifth grade band. When I see her face, hearing that beautiful music of her heart, I truly know that I wasn’t perfect, but I was a part of that. I was a part of her beautiful heart’s song. And I always will be.
Today, I may wobble, but I trust the balance, the magic of the music, and, oh, how I’m listening.