Every Monday and Wednesday night, you could probably find me in Kresge Auditorium almost rolling in laughter, listening to arguably some of the most creative analogies I’ve ever heard. I’m at wind ensemble rehearsal, learning life lessons.
Sometimes, these lessons are presented with analogies, and are certainly not limited to expressions such as “Release your inner pony!” or, “This part is when the baby stands up and takes his first steps!” Though not inherently obvious, they are words of wisdom. They are also the words of the MIT Wind Ensemble (MITWE) director, Frederick Harris.
Other times, another kind of life lesson comes from the calm and poised words of Ken Amis, an amazing tuba player and also our assistant director, giving us musical direction, ideas of what feeling to evoke while we play and suggestions on how to do it.
Several months ago, I joined the Wind Ensemble for 3 reasons: I didn’t want to forget how to play trumpet during college, I wanted to improve my musiciansip, and the most obvious, I love playing!
Twice a week in Kresge Auditorium, however, I also get one more unexpected thing out of being in MITWE, and that is rediscovering the meaning of the word “passion”. You see, when you’re playing a piece, you have a sheet of paper in front of you in black and white. You could go through the motions and “play a mezzo-piano C quarter note after 5 measures of rest” or you could add some color, and play a part “as though finally after trying multiple times and finally succeeding, the baby falls down once more.”
At our last concert on March 17, we premiered “Awakening”, a ___gorgeous___ 3-movement piece that the Wind Ensemble commissioned and that was composed by none other than MIT alum Jamshied Sharifi.
(Not only is he super humble and friendly, but he also came to a lot of our rehearsals to give us tips and guidance on the piece, AND he memorized our names. In around less than a month. !!!! :O! !!! Words. Cannot. Describe. Gratitude.)
If you missed the concert:
The number of people the piece reached was almost as monumental as the piece itself. It was inspired by the Arab Spring—you could listen to an NPR piece here if you’d like to know more about how and why it was created.
It’s interesting to note that, like the rest of MIT, the majority of the people in MITWE are studying science, math, or engineering, not music. People probably have super-varied reasons for being involved, but I would say that most of us enjoy the challenge and like to “ignite our musical lighter fluid with our inner match.”
Through the inspiring example of those that lead MITWE, we grow and learn to improve in more than just music. We exercise a life lesson. Do what you love and be passionate in what you do.