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Anime: Reconnecting with what was Lost

I’ve noticed in my site stats that I’ve been getting a surprising amount of visits from Japan.  Konnichiwa!

They probably just think I’m some American baka, but whatever.

Anyway, I had an epiphany today.  And if you care, I’ll share it here.

I wrote a concert band piece a while ago, inspired by Sound! Euphonium.  It’s actually not a bad piece.  Everyone I’ve shown it to has liked it, and I’m actually somewhat happy with it too.  It’s something I’m not ashamed to share, and I guess that’s something.

Compared to “Crescent Moon Dance”, I think it’s terrible, but then, it’s my first concert band piece ever, so maybe I should be a little easy on myself.  It’s good enough to perform in front of real people.

Anyway, today, I sat down to write another concert band piece.  I opened Finale, created a score out of a concert band template, and then… just looked at it.  I tried to write something, and it never came out quite how I wanted.  I had created some pretty melodies in isolation, but they were never quite what I wanted, and of the three or four I created, they ended up very similar, and I both hated and loved all of them.

So, finally, I gave up.  I went back to my bedroom and rewatched Sound! Euphonium again, on my phone.

And this time I see it differently.  It doesn’t feel as impactful to me, now.  It feels almost foreign.  Like it’s a world I’ve finally left behind.

Fundamentally, this is a drama about high school, and high school band.  I have seriously mixed feelings about high school.  In one sense, it’s something I’ve outgrown.  I mean, I’m nearly fifty years old.  There’s no place in my life for high school anymore, and there hasn’t been for thirty-five years.

In another sense, it’s something I never experienced (I was home-schooled) so it’s paradoxically also something I’m not mature enough for in some ways.  Heh.  Me, at nearly fifty years, saying that in some ways I’m not mature enough for high school.

In some ways, I should emphasize.  I am nearly fifty.  That time of my life is gone and it’s never coming back, and all I can do is deal with it and move forward.

But having spent all day failing to write a concert band piece, I had to start asking myself, why is it specifically concert band pieces I’m trying to write?  There’s other pieces I can write as well.  I’ve always wanted to try my hand at writing EDM or trance using something like cakewalk.  I’ve always wanted to write a piano concerto (though if it’s tough to write a concert band piece, a concerto is about ten times harder, I think).  Why am I trying to write concert band?

Well, it kind of comes back to an image in my head, from Liz and the Blue Bird.  And, actually, that was the key to understanding.

Liz and the Blue Bird stars as the main characters, a flautist and an oboist.  And there is this image of a girl sitting there with her oboe or flute playing a solo, in a huge concert hall, with all the lights and stage and stuff.  And I realized… I was writing for her.  That’s why it never came out the way I wanted.  I was writing for an imaginary high school oboist.

And then the epiphany:  For me, writing concert band pieces is a way to engage with high school, where I don’t actually have to engage with high school.   If there is a high school, somewhere, that plays music I wrote, well… it’s a bit like I’m there, isn’t it?  They may even invite me to see them play it.  Maybe not.  But the point is, it’s a way for me to work out some of my own issues, and create something somewhat beautiful as well.  Win/win for everyone, I guess.

I guess… there are worse ways to work through these kinds of issues.  Of all of the possible ways, this is among the healthiest, most productive, and most innocuous.  Quite a few other people my age, well… they’re not quite as healthy about it, and they get into heaps of trouble.  I have zero interest in those ways.

But still…  I should probably grow past it at some point.  I wonder what other music (or even other media) I can write.  And… realizing that is one step towards growing past it.  Yay, me.

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