I think it did in my case. I’m not talking about a complete change of events filled with tragedy and revelation, but just a simple changing of my life.

My freshman year of college I was in the Wind Symphony at the University of Texas under the direction of Kevin Sedatole. He chose a piece for us that I had never heard of (the piece nor the composer). It was Symphonic Metamorphosisby Paul Hindemith. The piece required that I play contra bassoon… something I had never played, let alone touched. Not only was I going to have to practice my toushka off to keep up with my bassoon lessons and group class, but I now had to learn the bass instrument of an already bass instrument (if that makes sense). Everything about this instrument was huge – the reed, the keys, the instrument, the case, AND I had to straddle it when I played, no being ladylike during a concert anymore.

I practiced… and practiced… and practiced…and eventually I got it. While the music for this instrument wasn’t anything to really write home about, the director loved it. He wanted more contra bassoon and when I thought I played it as loud as I could, he wanted even more! I grew to love playing this beast of a double reed instrument and grew to love Symphonic Metamorphosis. I couldn’t wait until we performed the piece in concert as I had invited my mom to come listen. We performed it without a hitch and while my mom didn’t care for it too much (I think her words were “It was different”) I think it was superb.

However, not superb enough to keep me at UT. There wasn’t much to write home about that semester. I was unhappy, I refused to make friends since I didn’t make Longhorn Band, and I missed home. Never mind that my grades were a 4.0, I got to play amazing music… AMAZING music, I had a wonderful bassoon teacher, and I was in Austin, TX (which is now my favorite “home”). I left UT for UTA (Arlington… or Almost as some call it).

At UTA I was first chair in the 2nd band (couldn’t do first band as they auditioned in the summer, not the winter). The musicians in the band were all great, but the band as a unit wasn’t what I had left at UT. I was okay with that though. I was close to home and was already on my way to getting to play cymbals in marching band again for the next fall. I thought things were great. I fit right in there – I did poorly in my classes as everyone else did (except the music classes – I flew through those), I stayed out way too late to act like an overgrown high school kids with the rest of the friends I made there, I worked more than 40 hours a week as a waitress which killed my energy and made going to early classes in the morning impossible, and I quit practicing the bassoon. No need to, the pieces in band and in my lessons didn’t require any great skill.

Then it happened sometime during my 3rd semester there. Our director passed out the march from Symphonic Metamorphosis. “COOL!” I was so excited. I’d get to play at least a portion of this music again. We practiced and practiced and practiced and it seemed to never sound quite like it should. How can this band not get the piece? This was the easiest of the movements from the entire work and how could they not get it? I think this was the turning point to my reapplying to get back into UT. I couldn’t do this anymore. I was smart and my grades weren’t showing it, I was a good musician, and my lack of practice and lack of motivation to practice wasn’t proving anything, and I hated Arlington, TX.

I got back in – THANK GOODNESS. UT was more relaxed with their readmit GPAs than their new student GPAs (the one thing that saved my butt). At UT I finished my education with a great GPA, still got to be a cymbal section leader in the Longhorn Band (as I was at UTA), finally made friends…

and the best part is that my first semester back in Kevin Sedatole’s band had me playing contra bassoon for Symphony in Bb by Paul Hindemith.

Hindemith really did change my life.

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