This I Believe
I am the garbage man that comes every week, the support, the unacknowledged worker, who does an important job, but to most people it is of no consequence. I am the restaurant waiter, who performs the dirty jobs, cleaning the dishes, the floor and the tables. I am the low-wage worker, always trying to fulfill the meaningless and demeaning tasks that are given to me. I am a third-chair clarinet player in band.
I believe in the eternal benefit of music and the microcosm of the real world that is band. My experiences as a third-chair clarinet player have taught me a lot of things about life. Being mired in musical mediocrity, and being the metaphorical bottom-feeder of the musical food chain has been a constant lesson of life.
In band and in real life there will always be a person that is higher up than me. There will always be someone that tells me what to do, who has a higher part or ‘earns more money’. The first clarinets are praised above me by the perennial favoritist that would be the boss in a low-wage setting, the band director. This person holds my fate, if I mess up; I could be demoted down to a lower chair and equivocally gets a pay cut. There is no one in band to go to after any incident with the band director, and if I make him or her angry enough by talking back then it is possible I could be kicked out of band and fired from that pathetic job I used to hold. This is a hard fact that can just be learned, tolerated and accepted, with no other option.
The benefits of band do not stop at realizing the rat-race that has become the low-wage job environment and indeed life in general. Band has also taught me the importance of communication and cooperation between the different sections of a business or group. It is vital in a low-wage job setting, such as a restaurant, that the separate groups work together. The cooks must be on the same level with the waiters and waitresses to ensure the quick service to the customers. Otherwise, orders could be lost and the serving process overall could come to a halt. Band is the same way. Each section has its own part to play and if all of them don’t come together, then the band will have a poor performance and the audience, the customers of our music will be disappointed. If the trumpets in the band go too fast, then it will cause the rest of the band to collapse; but if we all come together in a great display of teamwork and effort then it is possible to create the final product, whether it is beautiful music or a fast-food dish. The essential part of any job is teamwork between all the employees and that is something that I will carry with me into whatever occupation I choose.
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