Feb 22 2011

The scale and the metronome don’t lie

Way back in the day, when I was studying to be a classically trained musician and not the hack I am today, I read an article about tempo. Yeah, I know, I really knew how to live, eh? Livin’ on the edge, reading about tempi and embouchures and pedagogy. Probably on a Friday night, ’cause I was totally hawt like that. And I wonder why I rarely dated.

But I digress.

The article stated that, left to their own devices, most student musicians will end up at one of three speeds: 60 beats-per-minute, 80 beats-per-minute, or 144 beats-per-minute, depending on the overall tempo of the piece in question. This is why we all had metronomes. Loud, angry, beeping boxes that humbled and shamed us on an hourly basis. Grey rectangles of agony, setting fire to the ego, persistent enough to make a saint swear. Loudly. Repeatedly. If you doubt me, head to a local college music building and just follow the profanity. Congrats! You’ve found the practice rooms. Watch where you step, the french horn players like to twirl the spit condensation out of their horns.

My point is here…and I really do have one…is that the metronome never lied. Ever. That damned thing clicked its way into your psyche and you heard it and you knew when you were wrong. Humbled, you finally caved, saw the error of your ways, and learned to have a love/hate relationship with the tick-tock from hell. It made you a better musician.

Like the metronome, the scale does not lie. Before a cup of coffee it mocks you, twirling up up up to numbers not seen since hours before childbirth. It is a tool of the devil, but I’m starting to realize I need to have it in my life. Like a musician landing on comfortable beats-per-minute levels, my weight has hit a comfy place with no wish to change. But change it must, for this weekend three little words came to mind. Three little words to strike fear into a woman’s heart. Three little words that interfere with the whole coffee/chocolate/red wine lifestyle.


Twenty years. Ok, for starters, TWENTY YEARS??? When the hell did THAT happen? Ahem. But twenty years from high school, with no fancy career or accomplishments…I can’t appear as the mythological fat-lazy-bored stay at home mom.

So I have six months. Six months to make peace with the scale, drop off the junk in the trunk, and believe in myself like I did before the scale and metronome humbled me. Damned honest boxes. But one made me a great musician, the other will make me great in a dress. They don’t lie to me, and I won’t lie to myself anymore.


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  1. Sarah

    I feel like I should slap you upside the head. No accomplishments? WTF are you smoking.

    And yes the scale may not lie, but that number isn’t everything. And that number isn’t going to mean shit if you walk into your reunion believing you are the rockstar that you truly are!
    Sarah recently posted…1 2 5My Profile

  2. Sarah

    Ok I’m not sure if that came across the way I intended. I guess I mean, you are so much more spectacular than you sometimes let across! So don’t metronomes, or scales, or reunions get in your way!
    Sarah recently posted…1 2 5My Profile

  3. Benoit

    Well written !

    I will go to such a reunion next month and, for me, it’s like an early judgement day. I’ll have to answer that question: what have I done with my Life ?
    “Still on my way to the place where I’ll be in peace with myself” will be the answer.

    I’d like to go with a priest shirt…just for fun LOL !


  4. ChiTown Girl

    Ok, Missy, this summer will be my TWENTY-FIFTH high school reunion, so quit your whining!! Leave it to us OLD FOLKS!! 😉
    ChiTown Girl recently posted…Its that time of year againMy Profile

  5. Me

    OMG! Twenty Years!I’m in shock! It can’t be – I’m only 46 – oops – 64. My 50th reunion is only 5 years off, and that doesn’t bother me as much as your 20th. My baaabbby:)

  6. Amy

    Oy vey, 20 years!! Can you believe it?

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