The group that I chose to join to fulfill my Community Involvement Project is 吹奏楽団せせらぎ (suisōgakudan seseragi). Seseragi is a community concert band that practices once a week on Friday from 7:30 to 9:00 in the evening. Seseragi‘s members range in age from around twenty to sixty or seventy. I am one of three tuba players in the group, although because most of the members are 社会人 (shakaijin), not everyone comes each week. We usually have a lengthy warmup and then practice two to four pieces of music each rehearsal.
I found that I am able to make conversation with my fellow tuba and euphonium players by talking about topics such as instruments, experiences with music, and differences between Japan and the United States regarding playing in a band or practicing one’s instrument at home. Because playing tuba has been such an important part of my life since I was eleven years old, I have many experiences to talk about, so I have conversed with the other musicians, especially at dinner after rehearsal, about a multitude of experiences and interesting notions.
I have learned that when people share an interest or passion, especially when that passion does not require spoken words, they can make a connection to others simply through sharing that passion, whether through playing music together or simply laughing. While my experience as a member of Seseragi so far has allowed me to use my Japanese language skills to a great extent, I find that coming to understand Japanese society and sharing my interest in music with my fellow members has been the most fulfilling and interesting part of my Community Involvement Project. I plan to continue as a member until I leave Japan next year.