These Are the Times When I Wanted to Play My Contrabass Again Part 2


17.I attended “It’s Your Move,” a fundraiser for my local rape and domestic violence shelter in May 2016. They had a big band with a contrabass player. I sat there transfixed on that contrabass while they performed, remembering what I had lost.

18.After speaking to some people in PAQA (Professional Art Quilters Alliance), they told me to try to find a community ensemble and try to play contrabass again instead of longing.

19.There is a woman in my textile arts group who plays both piano and violin. Anytime I saw her, I remembered when I played piano and contrabass. And my heart longed for my contrabass. I told her about my abandoned contrabass dream. She told me to not beat myself up because actually things had gone better than I had ever thought. She has acted as a music therapist for me, patiently listening as I detailed my previous experience. She helped me to trouble shoot what went wrong, what went right and what I could do the next time to assure success in playing contrabass again.

20.I lived down the street from an Annie Lee store for years. I remember seeing pictures and statues of “On Q.” I bought a statue of “On Q” at the African Festival in Washington Park when I first started graduate school, as if to reassure my heart to keep hope alive. I kept thinking, “One day, all of what is “required” of me (get an undergraduate degree, get a graduate degree, etc.) will come to an end and I would play my contrabass again.

21.When I was taking writing classes, I cannot tell you how many times I heard about “getting in touch with your true voice.” I thought, “I write, make textiles and play contrabass. That should be easy with me being me.” I HAD to go back to contrabass again. My writing depended on it.

22.Shortly after Prince died, one of my evening shifts ended at work. As I was walking to my car, out of nowhere, I had this agonizing thought: “DO YOU REMEMBER PLAYING CONTRABASS AND LISTENING TO ‘STARFISH AND COFFEE?!?!!?’ I MISS ROSIN!!! I MISS MY BOW!!! I MISS THAT MONSTROCITY OF AN INSTRUMENT!!! I WANT MY CONTRABSS!!! I WANT MY CONTRABSS RIGHT NOW!!!”

23.I saw contrabassist Mimi Jones live at the Currency Exchange Café in Chicago during the summer of 2016. I loved these intimate settings for live performances. I took a list of questions to ask about playing a contrabass and she graciously answered each one. As I have been listening to her sound recordings, I have thought, “I want to play my contrabass again.”

  1. I saw someone at the music store in Chicago called A 440 who talked to me about the best rosins for contrabass. I was so excited that I bought all three: Nyman, Pops and Samuel Kolstein. No one told me this when I first started playing contrabass in high school. I placed one on my bookshelf in the house, one in my purse and one in my cup holder in my car, as if to communicate to the Universe and anyone who was listening that I wanted to play my contrabass again. I was confident I could do this again.
  2. I came across an online community known as Contrabass Conversations. I could have used this in high school. I have been soaking up every word like a sponge since I discovered them and thinking, “I want to play my contrabass again.”
  3. I went to the Music Institute in Evanston to watch the jazz jams all summer. I didn’t ever realize that three hours had passed. I wanted my contrabass. I met a contrabass teacher named Stuart Miller. I told him about my previous contrabass experience. “You walked around with a naked bass?” he asked. “That says you’re determined. This is good. You’re going to need that.” He told me to take the time to look around for a contrabass for myself, get a proper padded carrying case.

27.During the summer of 2016, I went to the music stores recommended by the Music Institute in Evanston and my textile arts group. I saw a laminated contrabass right before the Fourth of July holiday and thought, “It’s beautiful!” This time, I obtained padded case to go with it. I cleared a corner in my bedroom for my contrabass and my music stand. I have been getting up before the start of each shift to play, even before my 16 hour double shifts. I have loved every minute of it. I was asked by a friend if I would give my contrabass a name. I said I am going to name it, “Baby, Baby Baby” after the verse in the song “The Beautiful Ones” by Prince. I tried to not talk to too many people anyone outside of them because I learned over the years, as Julia Cameron has said in The Artist Way to “practice containment.” I didn’t want to be talked out of it. I have been working as a nurse for 15 years. Part of the reason why I took this job, aside from my volunteer work in high school with medically compromised children, was to pay for my artistic pursuits.  I increased my work load not only to pay bills, but also to pay for a contrabass and lessons (which is why I haven’t posted as much as I used to).

28.The Universe began giving me the right people to talk to. I was told by two musical families to check out Guitar Center for contrabass lessons, which I did. I started them at the end of August. I have been delighted ever since!