Though I guess I can't really call it home anymore. Especially since I've got my own place here, and now my parents have moved. It's a beautiful place though, I fully supported their decision to leave the place in which I grew up, especially when I got to really see the new place. They have 2 acres (two 1 acre plots rights next to each other, one of which is unable to be built upon, so they sell them together), situated at the top of the hill, with a view that looks down through everyone's backyards to the pond in the middle, across to the fields and hills on the other side where the sun perfectly rises each morning. I dare say they have a view to cows a mile away.

Part of me wishes I had grown up there, but I look back at where I did grow up and realize that situation was almost ideal. I was one of 5 girls of the same age living on that little cul-de-sac. We grew up together, and even though I've grown apart from them, I'll always have the early years of riding bikes in circles and playing hide-and-seek 'til the street light came on.

So, this weekend. It's TMEA weekend. This is the first year I'll be missing it since I've been here. Wish I could go. I suppose I could have talked to some of my friends about it and tagged along with somebody, but I don't think it would have been right for me to go this year. I've been a bit disconnected from that world since I basically got kicked out of the School of Music. Not like I broke any rules of anything, I didn't leave on bad terms, but I can't go back. Not at this school anyway. I was a music major for three years, and I absolutely loved it. But I failed my upper level, so I can't continue in that field at this school. Not to say that those three years were a waste. After all, we go to college to learn, and for an experience unlike any other, and I can truly say I took so much away from my time there. But it was at an end. So I left. And now I ponder my future.

I don't want to completely leave the music world behind, I still love it. So I think that in the future I will try to tag along. I refuse to become one of those people who "used to play in high school," but now their instrument sits sadly in the attic waiting for somebody to find it. I have a great love for my instrument, you should have seen me at TMEA last year when I caught sight of that alto trombone they had out. Oh god. And the valve trombone? Stick a fork in 'er, she's done. I want one. Bad. Actually, I really want a collection of sorts. I've kind of got one started.

I have two trombones, one old and one new; a 35 year old flute my mother played for a very short time, but held on to; a mostly decorative, but still playable crystal flute; a keyboard; a melodian/harmonium (or whatever you want to call it. If you've seen Ergo Proxy, it's the instrument Pino plays); a drum pad and sticks; and a harmonica (not that I can actually play that one, everything else I can play at least to an extent.)

I want to add to that any of the variations of the trombone (bass, double bass, alto, valve, I've even seen a piccolo, etc.), violin, cello, and/or bass, maybe a real drum, trumpet, give me any brass really, maybe clarinet, a double reed, I should probably pick up a guitar or bass along the way just to have all my bases covered. Also want some more exotic types, like a serpent (look it up, they're pretty cool).

Anyway, while I'm not going to TMEA this year, Josh is, and he left me and my roommate (to whom he introduced me, and I knew for two years before moving in with, so we're friends first, roommates second) to watch his dog while he's out of town. Well, technically he left her with Melissa, but since we live together... yeah, she's sleeping with me right now. But that technicality leaves me guiltless when I leave to visit home later today. I want to meet the new cat my parents got, I've already waited a couple weeks, and if I don't go this weekend, I may not get another chance for a while.

I'll have to get him to dish for me Sunday, though, I miss TMEA and want to hear everything. OK, maybe not everything, don't really want to hear about how he sat in a room listening to a lecture that he realized halfway through was boring and he really didn't need to know about it like he thought he did. That always happens, unless you don't go to any sessions, in which case I ask why did you go in the first place?

I suppose I should explain what TMEA is. Texas Music Educators Association. The conference takes place at the convention center in San Antonio every year, largest convergence of music nerds ever. Thousands descend upon the city. We reportedly have possibly the single largest and most involved state music education conference of any state. This is the word of several big time speakers who have personal experience attending many different states' conferences. Apparently they suck in comparison. It begins Wednesday with the opening business meetings and registration. Most (students, anyway) don't show up until Thursday when everything really starts.

Thursday and Friday, sessions for various subjects take place (you'd be surprised how many sub-topics there are within the all-inclusive "music") throughout the day, starting at 8am. There are usually upwards of ten, maybe even twenty, sessions taking place at a time, with new sessions beginning each hour. Meanwhile the exhibition halls open for students and teachers alike to browse everything from new instruments from the best brands out there, to things to sell as fundraisers, to uniforms and props, to the teeth-whitening booth in the back. Basically, if you can't find something in the list of sessions that you want to learn about, you can always go browse the exhibition halls. And if you get tired of that, there is usually as least one performance taking place somewhere. And if there's still nothing you want to see or hear, you can always just go chill in the opening near the entrance that I'm fairly certain they leave empty specifically for that reason (everyone needs a break here and there), or head down to the Riverwalk for non-concession-stand food or something not TMEA related.

Seriously, if you're in any way related to music education or the music industry, and you can't find anything you're interested in at TMEA, maybe the music business just isn't for you. I mean, come on, there are sound tech sessions, instrument specific sessions, elementary sessions, college sessions, concert sessions, business sessions, teaching sessions, new computer program sessions, anything and everything. And a booth to match.

On Saturday, everything wraps up. No more sessions, exhibition halls open one last time, and the State UIL Concert Bands perform. Collections of the best student musicians in the state from each classification of high school and middle school come together to show the fruits of their efforts. These are the kids who made it. The high school bands sound like college, and the middle school sounds like high school. Seriously. We saw the Middle School Honor Band last year, and it was awesome. You wouldn't have know these were little preteen kids by hearing them. Sadly many don't stick around to hear a lot of them. By early evening, everything is done, everyone walks back to their cars at the Alamodome and leaves for home, taking a densely packed weekend of learnings with them. It is truly a wonderful experience. You go in with a packet, a notebook, a schedule, and some cash, and leave simply overflowing.

I hope one day to experience it again.

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Tags: TMEA, home, music, weekend


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