Monday, October 11, 2010
Groups Offer Benefits: Join in!
Decades ago, when I was in school, I played clarinet. Because I missed playing a musical instrument, a few years ago I took up soprano recorder. I'm not a great player, but I'm okay. Practicing solo is fine, but I've been longing to play with a group for some time. Finally, last weekend, I took the plunge. With instrument and music stand in hand, I drove to the meeting place of a local recorder society and joined in on a rehearsal.
It was hard walking into an established group where I didn't know a single soul. I needn't have worried, however. The members were very welcoming and kind. One woman went out of her way to talk to me and introduce herself before the rehearsal. She'd only just started with the group herself. We traded names and phone numbers when we discovered we both lived in the same town and are planning to carpool together to future rehearsals.
I fumbled my way through the three pieces we were given, missing notes, forgetting repeats, and miscounting, but no one seemed to care. I think they were too busy concentrating on their own parts to worry about me. I loved being part of a group again and I know I'll benefit from the added sightreading practice and hearing others play.
Writers can benefit from groups, too. If you've been writing solo for some time, try joining a group and meeting other writers. The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators is THE group for children's writers, and you don't have to be published to join. Take a look at their site. There are local regional chapters in almost every state in the U.S. Find out where the chapter nearest you meets. Then pluck up your courage and attend a meeting. I know you'll be glad you did!