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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Groucho And The Sweet Spot

"I wouldn't want to be in a club that would have me as a member."

That remark - most often attributed to Groucho Marx - periodically visits me. And though I have no expectations anyone will publicly share their story, I'm also reasonably sure others occasionally walk this less-than-ennobling path with me and Groucho.

Here's a musical experience to illustrate - substitute your own in its place. Not long ago I was invited to join a jam session soon after someone heard me perform. So far, so good - an opportunity to interact with other musicians. My enthusiasm curdled not long into the session; I wasn't feeling challenged. I heard Groucho's voice.

Driving home, previous jam sessions involving the opposite scenario - i.e. those times when I was clearly out of my depth with other musicians - flashed across my mind. That reflection brought me to my daughter's occasional lament about preferring to share the stage or set with actors who challenge her. But how do those actors feel if they're not challenged by her? Probably like the musicians in my latter scenario, right? Groucho loomed.

Do you ever fantasize about that sweet spot? You know, being asked to join a club you really want to be in? A club with members who would be patient with me as I grow worthy of being in the club. But then I look in the mirror and see Groucho's knowing smirk. Not a chance, knucklehead.

1 comment:

  1. "And though I have no expectations anyone will publicly share their story..." Come on, Pat. I'm a live wire and you know it.
    Welcome to three of my former or present worlds- the worlds of dance, barbershop harmony and Scrabble competitions. Unrelated as they may seem, experiences in these fields of endeavor have at times challenged, frustrated or bored me. The problem, as I see it, is making a decision that you are willing to give more than you will ever get in return. I'll go with the barbershop story.
    Women's barbershop harmony uses the same terminology as men's, but the octaves are different. I was a baritone, which is the most challenging harmony part and I had a great ear. Before I knew what had happened, I was the baritone section leader in this chorus of 50+ voices. At rehearsals, each person sang into her own recorder at very close range. The baritones then handed me their tapes and I had to do a written critique of every incorrect note and lyric, so the singers could individually improve. Holy crap! Not exactly the sweet spot I was looking for.
    But at performances and barbershop competitions, there were a few fantasy moments I do remember. So was it all worth it, you wonder? No, definitely, it was not.