Two band camps in a row. Easy-peasy, right? I mean, I marched 4 years of high school band, majored in music in college and worked at least one band camp each summer of my degree. I’ve played Mahler & Shostakovich symphonies and walked away unscathed! I’m basically the Dread Pirate Roberts in my immunity to ear damage by now!
Me: “What did you do today, Kevy?”
Me: “Well, I ate a ton of healthy locally grown food, didn't smoke or drink hard liquor, walked to and from work, when I did need to drive I drove slowly while carefully obeying all traffic laws, didn’t go out late at night by myself and had healthy, non-dramatic social relations with my roommates and acquaintances. Also, no bricks were thrown at my head."
Me: “Hm, if my calculations are correct, it seems like nothing bad will ever happen to you. You can look forward to a life free of health scares since your tranquil existence protects you from dangerous uncontrollable elements such as tornadoes, grenades, and the plague.”
With this conversation being the the source of my inner joviality, I packed my bags and ran along to 14 consecutive days of loud music with no earplugs.
Fast forward and we arrive at just in time for...
Fact #2: 5 days of uninterrupted 'humming' in my ears. This is an actual thing and it's called Tinnitus. Jackpot.
When I play, I hear a sub-tone underneath each pitch and I'm perceiving many notes as flatter than they actually are. This morning I woke up in the dark and upon standing up, felt like I had no balance whatsoever and had to grab hold of my bed to steady myself. This feeling continued in the shower and all the way to work.
Realization: I legitimately damaged my inner ear to the degree that it's affecting my balance and my ability to perceive correctly the music that I play. Not a great, I-can-take-over-the-world feeling. In fact I'm actually feeling very scared and vulnerable. It sucks. My master plan to start the rumor that I'm a badass is temporarily thwarted.
Then I remembered that I had actually dug into a fresh ball of mozzarella the day before.
Oops. But, there's nothing like a fresh surge of optimism to get you off your cantankerous high horse and back to work. Sub-tones or not, this instrument isn't gonna practice itself.