• Jolene Roehlkepartain

Stretching Yourself

Updated: May 17, 2019

You are a rubber band. How often do you get stretched? How often do you get pulled so far that you’re certain you’re going to break? And how often do you take the smoothest way to avoid any stretching and then discover you’re stagnating?

Finding that right balance of being stretched but not too far and not little isn’t easy today. Demands charge at us from all directions, and it’s tempting to duck and hide.

Recently I stretched myself by playing flute in a music ensemble with members of the Minnesota Youth Symphony and an established adult choir. We performed seven pieces together, ones that stretched all of us with complex meter changes, harmonic blending, and technical entrances and exits.

The music was exhilarating. And at times lush and gorgeous. I was grateful for the opportunity to learn and perform this music and get to know some of my fellow musicians.

One of the members of the Minnesota Youth Symphony was heading to the airport immediately after our final performance. He was flying to upstate New York to audition for the Eastman School of Music the next morning. Others were preparing to audition for the next season of both the Minnesota Youth Symphony and the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony.

As for me, I went home and dug through my music and discovered what to learn next. Stretching. Not too much. Not too little. The right amount to keep growing.

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