Rebuilding

My Humpty Dumpty computer is being put together again, without any help whatsoever from the king’s horses or the king’s men! Last week the computer crashed and took with it my pictures, files, histories, address book, my stash of coupons and half of my  pantry.

And – I’m wrestling with a cold and/or allergies. While playing the banjo, it is good to have a raspy voice and sound pitiful, as if my partner and my dog ran off the same day. However, I will be playing the flute in the hospital this week – two days even. Getting air, and being able to breathe out air sans sputtering and hacking, is a lovely thing with woodwind instruments! (This week, I’m in a hospital lobby – nowhere close to any sick kids who are up on the units!!)

I see only cold meds

I see only cold meds

Grotto Music Finale

I just completed my 5th and final night, playing flute outdoors for 3 hours, at the Grotto. Compared to the 19 degree temps from a few weeks ago, tonight’s 34 degrees were downright balmy – sort of. 🙂

I loved the whole experience, especially hobnobbing with so many folks and educating them on the ways of the alto flute. Several children got to “help” me play by mashing keys but I found out that “gently!!” is a relative term.

For posterity’s sake, I want to record the fun highlights from tonight. A grown man (with special needs) played with his yoyo inches from my face. A young girl picked her nose inches from my face (a few weeks ago, a child sneezed all over my open song book). The top prize tonight goes to the young boy who grabbed the flute I was not playing at the time and just slobbered all over the mouth piece. The poor mom and grandma were mortified. I just smiled and realized I would need to use my special Slobber Be Gone spray at home. (Not quite sure what that would be? A shot of whiskey for me, a shot of whiskey for my flute. Silent night, all is sterile and bright!)

Good Day

Yesterday, I got a bit of sunburn on my face. In Oregon!!! In October!!! The weather here has been glorious. Sure wish it could always be like that. I can live just fine without rain.

I also played music at one of the Children’s Hospitals and had great interactions with the staff. One PT knew that I was playing an alto flute. A nurse asked if I was a professional player. The facilities man said my playing was very soothing. I have to chuckle at the undeserved last 2 comments because I was “jamming” – essentially playing glorified scales while watching the happenings around me.

One thing I am proud of is that I can play through anything – patients doing PT exercises right in front of me, facilities people moving equipment up close, children screaming and crying down the hallway (ok, that’s a bit tough but I figure I can help them the most with soothing music) and loud noises such as alarms or espresso machines (from the hospital lobby snack bar).

BUT – I finally met my match!! A very cute, bald from chemo, sweet little boy was completely mesmerized with my flute. He walked up and stuck his finger in the end of the flute while I was playing. He then proceeded to mash keys and pry the flute out of my hand and attempt to play it. There is something about these kids that I just hand over my $2,000 flute and think nothing of it. I finally blew air through the mouthpiece and let him mash keys. And throughout this whole time, neither of us said a word. I’m not even sure he spoke English – or spoke at all. But it was as if we had had a meaningful, heartfelt conversation.

Ahhh – I always receive so much more than what I give at the hospital.

Alto flute with curved head piece.

Alto flute with curved head piece.

 

Alto flute with, what I believe to be, saxophone keys

Alto flute with, what I believe to be, saxophone keys

Bliss

Since last October, I have been playing flute music in the lobby of one of the children’s hospitals in town. It has certainly been a great experience so far, and I look forward to continuing there.

Today, though, I got to play on the unit with the children at the “other” hospital. I LOVED it. A few people told me, in passing, that the music was soothing. A staff member told me that 2 patients down the hall wanted their doors open so they could hear me. YAY! (I marvel at that because I was told repeatedly, before arriving, that I should play very quietly). My dream job would be to get paid to play therapeutic music to folks who need it. And I think we all need it!

The best moment today was when a young boy (a patient) came by on a scooter and asked me about my alto flute. I told him it was really heavy and just handed it over for him to hold. He told me it was not heavy and that it looked like a walking cane (because of the curved head piece). 🙂

I can’t wait till I get to play again!!!

Flutetastic

Flutetastic

 

Fun with PT!

Now the physical therapy sessions are getting to be fun and interesting since I’m, and this is a direct quote, on “the VERGE of NORMAL”. I’m not sure I’ve ever been quite that close so that is a reason to run and jump with joy. However, since my ever fabulous PT taped up my feet so my ankles would work mo’ betta, running isn’t going to happen. Right now, I’m happy to just walk without falling all over myself. I think he should have taped my mouth instead since I can chatter so much 🙂

Dan, TEFPT (The Ever Fabulous PT), gave me a new title in regard to the instruments I play or want to play. He called me a harpelele flutist. How cool is that? If you take the 5 instruments I have going (and don’t add the others that are yet to join me), I would actually be a hammer harpomandobanjo flutist of the dulcimer variety. Or, an octave harpoflutist hammer banjodulci mandolinist. Or…the list goes on! 🙂

This tape color is SO last week! I should have asked for the purple. 🙂

 

Baptism by Fire

After a year of waiting, administrative details and some challenging life events, I *finally* got to play music at a local children’s hospital. It was FUN! It was crazy! Here are the details.

I pulled off, barely, in 3 or 4 days what I should have done over 3 months; namely, practice with my heavier alto flute everyday in measured doses, find backing tracks, figure out slowly how to write harmony and transpose music for an instrument that is in G etc. But noooo, I worked on this like a maniac for 3 or 4 days solid because I didn’t know what I was getting into until I had jumped off the proverbial cliff.

After arriving at the hospital lobby, I had the choice of a comfy chair, that looked like a propped up blood cell, or a bar stool. I plopped down in the nucleus of the blood cell and started setting up the ueber scary, brand new technology – a bluetooth wireless speaker synched up with my iPhone and a playlist that I was counting on.

Bluetooth didn’t work – used a cord. Playlist shuffled itself (eek). I hadn’t worked on the music enough (double eek). And I’ve performed in a wide variety of places but never with a blender or espresso machine running in the background (hospital lobby snack bar). 🙂  And a sweet man was talking to me, for a short while, and God Blessing me every sentence while I was playing the flute and wrestling with techno/musical ad lib challenges. (But he made my day!!) And my fingers were so clamped onto the flute, because of nerves and the weight of the flute, that I had to manually pry them off so I could mess with my iPhone – mid song!

I put on my best actor/interpreter face, and despite turning into a marshmallow moosh mess on the inside, I had FUN and pulled it off well enough to pass the virtual interview. I will practice MUCH more, especially with the lighter flute, and be better prepared for next time; at which point, I get to play on the hospital floor for the sick kiddos. CAN’T WAIT!!!!

The closest I’ll ever get to having my name “up in lights”

Hallway Musician

I am thrilled out of my mind to be a hallway musician in a local children’s hospital soon. What exactly is that? Well, I’m parked in a public area, rather than a patient’s room, and will be playing soothing flute music for one hour in one area, and then for another hour in another area of the hospital. If that sounds nebulous, I haven’t been there yet and don’t know what to expect. Have flute, will travel 🙂

This will be happening in SEVEN days. I have 3 flutes that I haven’t really touched in months. I have a new iPhone that I’m not altogether familiar with yet. So…I need to set up iTunes, buy downloadable background tracks and a speaker, and then gain some experience with operating this technology. Did I mention that I need to WRITE the melody and harmony parts, practice them, and then synch that up with this new technology – in seven days?? Nothing like a little pressure to get going. But this is something I REALLY want to do and just can’t wait. 

Monster flute. Actually, it’s called a bass flute.

Deep breath. Feel the room spinning. Ahhhhh