“Come on out and read the lead book. The regular guy will be absent that night, but we’re just going to read through some stuff. No worries.” I used to play lead, many moons ago. How hard could it be? I’ve been practicing lots, in pretty good shape, regularly playing with a different swing band, though lower parts – okay, I’ll do it. It’ll be good for me. I need more “face on horn” time.
After being welcomed graciously by the rest of the section last night, I was pointed at three huge binders of music and clued in to which book was which. Off we went, calling numbers and plowing through music. The first tune was a lead trumpet solo, of course, as were the next couple. As the night went on, the lead parts got higher and higher. I made it through, but I could tell I was just treading water and keeping my head up. Granted, it was all sight-reading and stuff I hadn’t seen before, but I was hoping to have it go a little smoother, maybe make a good impression as well as advance my “being bold” campaign.
That’s where the humble pie comes in, of course. Hubris. Thinking I could step in and lead, where it turns out I am a better utility player. The line between stretching past my present abilities and being able to deliver the goods that are needed for a job is a balancing act. I maintained, and with practice, could probably contribute to the group, but I went home feeling pretty off kilter. My faith in my abilities had been tested, and left wanting.
Back to the practice studio.