Tag Archives: Band Together

Bone Babe 4-evah!

Despite the name of my site name being “orangetrombone” I don’t think I’ve really ever discussed my being a trombone player with a music degree. I have Music B.A. from the University of Minnesota – I call it the “I LIKE MUSIC” degree because really, like the Avenue Q song goes, “What do you do with a B.A. in English? (insert Music)”

I got the degree because I originally wanted to be a teacher which turned into a music teacher/band director, which was taking a long time, and it turns out I kinda suck at theory, so when they revamped the B.A. to be more versatile (aka, easier) and less like I was working to become a composer, I went that route and finally got the heck out of college. I do still want to go back to school and become a teacher: the more I sit at my desk “helping” people the more I dream of getting out and actually HELPING people, and get rid of those pesky quotation marks.

I am glad that I got this degree, though.  It’s definitely different than anyone else I know in StL.  So, great conversation starter at the very least . . . but really I feel like the hours I spent in a practice room, listening to my music history pieces, and struggling through the demon-theory are well worth it, especially since I can claim to have a degree in something that I’ve loved and been raised with, even if it’s been relegated to hobby-status.  Because music, and really being a trombone player, in many ways defines me.

Being a trombone player, especially a female trombonist, is special in the band/instrumental world.  It is definitely a bit of a tomboy instrument growing up since it’s big and loud and has the word “bone” in it, which never fails to be followed up with Beevis & Butthead-esque tittering (heeheehee “tit”!) The sections I’ve been in from middle school through high school, college, and now in community band were/are dominated by nerd-boys, usually tall, lanky geeks who also know how to fix your computer, which has definitely come in handy.

Because of this male-domination, being a “bone babe” means toeing the fine line between lady/mom and being “one of the guys.”  You have to be okay with sick, dumb jokes while you make sure they have their marching shoes and be an awesome kick-a** girl.  Bone babes are rarely butch since most of us LIKE guys, though if you dig the chicks that’s totally cool too.  The point is, even while one of the “guys” you have to occasionally remind these boys that, while you’ll take care of them with cookies and slide oil, you are not their mom and they need to treat you well and like a girl every once in a while.

When my dad decided I would play trombone, he convinced me by telling me that “bone women” were to coolest girls in the band, super laid back, funny, and always the best players.  I was sold.  I was lucky, too, to have a best friend and fellow bone babe right from the get-go who shared my love of dirty jokes and being B.A. with a capital B.  Courtney and I had the best time all through middle school and high school, and our senior year we were the only girls in the Marching Band trombone section, and our boys loved us.  We made them locker signs and treats and it was the only year we bothered to take a group picture.  The trombone trio of the wind ensemble my senior year was also the most fun I had in high school band, me and my two boys that I sat between, Mike and Steve.  We definitely got in trouble for talking too much, though we rarely missed an entrance, an art Courtney and I had refined from age 11.

It wasn’t until I decided to pursue music in college, though, that playing my trombone really took precedence over my band social life.  “Bando’s” in my high school had a completely different schedule in high school, so all of my best friends were either in band or in another performance activity I did after school.  I had enough natural talent to keep me going with little to no practice outside of class, and that was just fine with me.  But college is where I hit my stride in playing, and thank goodness I did, or I would have never completed my degree.  Lessons and your studio are a huge chunk of your credits, at least at the UofM.  I was in the UofM Marching Band, which, again, took very little effort on my part as far as playing went most of the time.  So, it wasn’t until I decided to audition for the School of Music in my sophomore year that I really learned to love the “bone” part of being a bone babe.

I started taking lessons with John Tranter , and he is hands down the best music teacher I’ve ever had.  I don’t know what it was, but I felt like he both cared about my growth as a musician and at the same time knew how to cut through the crap without making me feel like dirt.  If I didn’t practice enough he knew it, though he rarely got more than stern in his tone.  So I strove to please him, and along the way I fell in love with my playing.  Now I was making time to practice 2-3 hours a night, sometimes 5 if I fell behind or was working on something difficult.  My first jury (basically your final test in your lessons, performing full solo pieces) I felt truly proud of my playing ability.  I realized I hadn’t really felt that way since I was little, and it was such a high.  To know that you can really do something well, that you performed at the top of your game all by yourself, that was something I had never done on my trombone.  It was weird to think that I had defined myself by this instrument for so long without actually loving the instrument itself, rather, just the culture.

Now, playing in my community band, my trombone has again taken a backseat in my life – a bit literally since it often sits in the trunk of my car waiting for Wednesday night rehearsal.  I hope to someday return to it, and I get a glimpse of that high with each performance, but it does feel like I’ve let the musician in me down.  It’s at those times that I pull out my diploma, and know that I’ve truly accomplished something in my musical career: I am a bone babe, now and forever, and that’s not something that can be taken away from me.

It also comes in handy when I tell people they have poor taste in music: Trust me, I have a B.A. in Music 🙂




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30 Day Challenge


Starting tomorrow, August 15th, 2012, I would like to attempt this 30 day challenge as found on HighExistence.  My friend Emily posted this on her facebook wall and I think it would be amazing to try.  They have some great ideas which I would like to attempt and document it here, which means part of my 30 day challenge would be posting on this blog again, yay!  I will officially post what I’m going to try and accomplish tomorrow since right now I have about 10 things I REALLY want to do but should (possibly) try to narrow down.  I’d also like to do one just for work, but that one will probably be SUUPAH-BORING (“suupah” being how you would say it if you’re Nicki Minaj) for you, as well as for myself, but it’s something I’d like to accomplish anyway.  The things I’m thinking about right now are:
Crocheting each day: at least 1 row of the blanket I’ve been working on for about a year now

Practice trombone: really want to get back on the horse, just gotta find the time/space/guts

Take a 30 minute walk each day (from the website)

Exercise each day: which if I do the walk, two birds!

Write a “What I like about you” note to someone who is important to me each day (from the website): this will give me the opportunity to do what I’ve wanted to for a VERY LONG TIME because sometimes I’m terrible at telling people how much I love/appreciate them and why

-Read a chapter each day (from the website): I’ve fallen off my book wagon and have to get back on!!

-“Love Thyself” (from the website): I’m a hater who be hatin’ on myself sometimes and it’s got to stop – whoah, s— got real 🙂

-Study a topic to master (from the website): I’d like to get back to studying music and bone up on ear training/theory because I know I’ve lost what little knowledge I had . . .

-Listen to a new/different album each day: man, I totally didn’t accomplish my goals with my ipod challenge, this could help though!

-Write a Novel (from the website): This is something I might wait until November to do, I found a nifty website, not even sure what I’d write about but is on my bucket list to be a published author.  Once upon a time this girl had dreams of being a writer for a living.

As for Work: I don’t really post about work here so I’ll probably just make a list for my desk, again, just boring stuff like voice mail follow ups and trying to take on extra projects.

Another project I would like to work on as well is one for the State Fair:


It’s a contest for making the next “The Great MN Get Together” ad campaign/poster.  I’m not a professional artist but I do love the MN State Fair: so much so that I’m making a special trip to MN to go hang out with my mom and my brother’s girlfriend on the opening weekend of the fair.  The deadline for submission is October 24th and you have to send in a resume and stuff with examples of your other work, so I’m sure I won’t even be considered, but how will I know if I don’t even try?

Finally, regarding new challenges: I’ve volunteered to do PR stuff for the community band I joined here in StL, Band Together.  The group is getting a new website through Word Press which I might be helping out with here and there, possibly more content stuff than anything, but more importantly getting in contact with local newspapers/radio stations/tv(?) to promote this great group!  I love to do this kind of stuff and why not for a group that I’ve definitely fallen in love with since moving to StL.  I would not have met Kelsey if not for this group and through her many, many, MANY people.  AND it keeps me playing, AND I got to be in the Pride Parade which is the most fun I’ve had at a parade since U of M Marching Band.

I know that I had a “goals” post before but I’ve been making some changes in my life over the past couple months and have done a decent job of keeping up with them.  Either way, just trying is half the battle, wish me luck! 

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