This post is written to link with Five Minute Friday: write for five minutes on a one word prompt.
The prompt today is “breathe.”
When I think of breathing, the first thing that comes to mind is music. As a wind player, it is incredibly important to learn how to breathe correctly in order to create a good tone. It is also important to learn when to breathe- to breathe between phrases where it makes sense musically- and to learn how to sustain your breath to make it last to the end of the phrase.
It is not always an easy task, especially when you are faced with music that looks like this:
The wind band I am part of often plays pieces originally written for orchestra, which have been arranged for wind band. The problem is the parts that are on violin in the original version are often given to the clarinets, but sometimes arrangers forget that we need space to breathe.
It’s fine for violinists- they can breathe whenever they like without it affecting the music- but clarinettists need space in the music to take a breath so that they can continue.
Life can sometimes feel like playing one of those parts. Demands and responsibilities pile up, our to-do lists spiral out of control, we feel we have to keep going, otherwise the whole thing is going to fall apart, and people don’t always understand why it’s so hard, but it’s impossible. We need space to breathe.
Fortunately there is an answer: teamwork. In a wind band there are usually at least four clarinettists, sometimes more. You might not all be playing the same part but, as long as you breathe in different places, the overall effect is usually successful. You take turns to keep playing, allowing others to leave a few notes out to take a breath.
I think teamwork is the answer in life too: realising that we can’t keep going indefinitely, giving out and giving out without taking in, and being honest about that, taking turns in supporting one another so that we all have the chance to get what we desperately need: space to breathe.