Today I’m quite pissed at myself for not standing up for what I believe in last night.
I play in a community concert band. I’m not the best musician in my section, but far from the worst. Yet I sit last chair for various reasons:
- I like sitting on the end where I don’t have anyone blowing a flute in my ear.
- I’m not good at sight-reading nor music theory so it forces me to concentrate harder and study the music more deeply so I don’t just rely on hearing others play and copying them.
- We don’t have a formal process for seating people in the right spots.
- I’m not so assertive or presumptuous as to just plop my ass down in the seat I think I should be in and move everyone else down one. Others have done this, but it’s not my style. There are 9 of us. I’m last but if I had to choose where I think I should be, I’d plop myself in 4th chair.
The issue I have is that I’d like to play piccolo just once in a while. On occasion. We do have a regular player (Mr. Piccolo), then first chair sometimes plays it (we’ll call her Queen Bee), and now a new girl who out of the blue is playing piccolo on a few songs as well (AKA MissPiccyPants. And she’s absolutely terrible. I’ve told the director that I’d like to play piccolo occasionally as well and he’s said that he’d hold auditions, but that has yet to happen. I find him to be disorganized and fairly spineless, so I don’t see it happening unless I confront him and, again, that’s not my style.
Mr. Piccolo claims that as principal he has the authority to assign parts out and will give me one, but that’s yet to happen even though he mentions it every week. Apparently he does NOT have that authority. But if he tried, Miss PiccyPants would have a hissyfit and run to the director who will say oh OK miss thang you can play it. She’s done it before so I know it would happen again. Plus her mom (equally musically challenged) also plays in the band and goes to bat for her daughter if she doesn’t get her way and the director, for whatever reason, bends.
At this point I’m just playing for fun, for another musical outlet. Not being assertive or whiny about it, but also asserting myself passive aggressively in that I’m not practicing and I likely won’t attend the concert. I feel that if the director is OK with featuring unskilled players on solos and having the concerts not be their best, that’s not my problem.
So how does this have any damn thing to do with why I’m pissed at myself?
Because Mr. Piccolo bitches about MissPiccyPants constantly and really ripped into her on our way out last night in a way that I should have defended. He’s just a kid, MissPants is just a kid, I don’t want to be their friends or impress them, I just want to play music and be treated fairly. But on our way out last night, he continued his weekly litany of “oh she’s so terrible, you’re so much better, you should be playing piccolo and not her” but added personal attacks onto the end. She’s so ugly. She’s fat as hell. Her red hair is so frigging ugly. Her hair is greasy. She looks like she smells.
And I just let him rant. All the while thinking I have red hair. I am fat. Why the HELL is he saying these things about this girl that he doesn’t even know? Things that apply to me as well??? And why didn’t I totally call him on the carpet on it???
And that is why I’m pissed at myself. I should have stopped it. I should have said hey asshole not only are you being totally hateful and out of control, you’re describing me! Why do you think this is OK? Ugh.
No, next week this is NOT going to happen. I’m just going to play, do my best, and leave. If any of this unsavory conversation comes up, I’m stopping it. I don’t need or really want him as a friend. In retrospect I was looking to him to be an ally in this, to relinquish a part to me, to go to bat for me to move me up in the section. But I don’t need that. I’m happy down at my end and that’s where I’m going to stay. I may approach the director once again in the future, but I’m not discussing this with anyone else again.
Too much friggin’ drama! Unfortunately it’s the only band in the area so it’s this one or none at all.