Sunday, May 04, 2008

Dumb Luck

I think about how much that is good in my life is due to just plain dumb luck. Sometimes it is even blind (in the case of my first date with my husband), and sometimes it is even deaf, when I have, by chance, picked a recording out of a record store bin (back when there were bins, records, and record stores) that turned out to be something really special. I have had dumb luck with instruments too. My (now ex) Powell flute was made for me, as was my (also now ex) Powell piccolo, and my Rod Cameron baroque flute. I didn't have the option to choose an instrument: my number came up, and I took what each of the makers came up with.

There was luck involved in getting the orders for my flute and piccolo, however. My flute order (there was a four-year waiting list for Powell flutes back in the 1970s) was offered to me by a flutist I met at a concert in Stockbridge (actually Interlochen) Massachusetts one very hot and mosquito-rich evening in the summer of 1973. That particular flutist had a "matured" order for an instrument made by Haynes (back in those days the only "professional" were made by Haynes and Powell flutes) and one made by Powell. She chose to take the Haynes, and simply offered to turn her Powell order over to me. I took it, and I got a very nice instrument. In addition, for reasons that had nothing directly to do with playing the flute, that evening ended up being a pivotal one in my life.

Shortly after I got my Powell flute, I thought it would be a good idea to order a piccolo. Powell had just started making piccolos after not making them for many years. It turns out that my mother, who was a flutist, put in an order for a Powell piccolo shortly before they stopped making piccolos during the 1960s. They told her that her order would still be considered viable when they started making piccolos again, so I was able to get a Powell piccolo within a few months.

My violin, one of the last instruments that Douglas Bearden made before he died, has allowed me to grow into having the violin-voice that I have. That instrument was also made to order, and an example of blind and deaf luck. My first viola was a lucky garage sale find (no strings, no bridge, and no sound post for $100), and the viola I usually use was a gift. I love both of them.

Some people say that you make your own luck. I think that things just happen.

So much has changed during the last 49 years of my lifetime. (I just turned 49 the other day) Being in the right place at the right time used to be considered a primary component in "making your own luck." Now, with my physical distance I have from just about everything going on in the musical world that I so deeply want to still participate in, there is no possible way for me to "be" where I want to or need to be in order to make my own luck in the musical world. "Place" and "time" have extended meanings with the addition of the internet into our lives, so it is very lucky for me that you happened to find my "site" and can take part in my musings about the very luck that brought us together somewhere outside of physical time and place.

Gee. Taking a day off practicing has probably taken a serious toll on my psyche. I had better get back to work. Thanks for "stopping by."

1 comment:

Chantal said...

Happy belated birthday! I hope it was a good one!