I had a brilliant, uplifting morning on Saturday at a BBC SO event called Come and Play, part of their symphony season.
They invited non-professional players to spend a morning in a workshop with members of the BBC SO on Dvořák's Symphony no. 9 (From the New World) or Tchaikovsky's Symphony no. 6. I was accepted into the morning (Dvořák) workshop, which was very exciting indeed! It's one of my favourites, and I felt like I might have a fighting chance of getting through it in one piece...
Nevertheless, I showed up duly at Maida Vale with no little trepidation, but that soon dissipated. Our 'flute helper' (the orchestra's co-principal flute) was delightful and remarkably patient with us, and the conductor's clear enthusiasm both for the music and the workshop was buoyant and contagious. I don't remember the last time I had so much fun and felt like I had absolutely nothing to be worried about or ashamed of. Even a small four-bar solo in the first flute part didn't (quite) defeat me the way that the simplest soli in band rehearsals can.
I don't know what it was about the morning that was so encouraging; a combination of everyone's enthusiasm and the frankly beautiful music. Whatever it was, I left Maida Vale more cheered and confident than I have been for ages. It's a cliche, but if you've been unemployed for a while then being invited to something special and being taken seriously makes such an enormous difference. Massive thumbs up all around, huge thanks to everyone at the BBC SO who made this possible for so many.