To go along with getting my instrument fixed and ready to play, I have just gotten one more notch in my musical equipment tool belt. I have found that I play better when I can actually see the music. This wasn’t an issue when I first started playing trumpet.
My young, sharp eyes only succumbed for a couple of years to the need for occasional glasses from the eyestrain of playing and studying so much in college. After that, I didn’t even think about them until I started having to hold my books at arms reach to read them. Reading glasses are a hassle, but can be dealt with. Seeing my music on the stand at varying distances, plus the added need to see the conductor twenty-plus feet away in some of my groups, has become a bit of a challenge. The reading glasses are made for closer work and the music is too far away. The conductor is fuzzy through the glasses, but clear in my regular vision. You would think bifocals or Progressives would work, but when you play trumpet you very rarely look at the music directly in front of you; there is a bell in the way. What to do?
Many of my musician friends would tell me just to do what they do: ignore the conductor. I have found that it’s nice to have a little eye contact and get a cue or two, so I have taken to peering over my glasses. Not being able to read the notes quickly is a bit more of a problem. It kind of makes a difference whether those blurry little dots are on a line or a space, and which one. By the time I have squinted at them, the time for them to sound is past.
Today I presented my problem to the optometrist and let her figure it out. Will the finished product solve my problems? Time will tell. But it’s got to be better than what I have been doing.