Thus far, the Spring anime season has been a very leisurely and modest one in terms of energy. Picking up far fewer shows than I ever have per season, I’m at least sufficiently pleased with what is on my viewing list. One of those shows I’m watching is Sound Euphonium, KyoAni’s latest novel to anime adaptation. While it’s to early to past any kind of judgement either way, I can at least say that I’m enjoying it for what it is and really does hit home as it has me conjuring up past memories of my own musical training and some of the aspects that I like and think has been portrayed particular well when it comes to learning and playing an instrument.
One of the reasons that I do like Sound Euphonium so far is that it does at least adhere to the spirit and expectations of a high school band. With a mild expectation of a few members, most can’t play all that well, slack off during practice, and believe they can sally forth into a competition with reckless abandon. Even when I was apart of the concert/marching band in middle school, my instructor wouldn’t dream of letting us play without the proper amount of observed practice and that outside school. On the flip side, I’m rather intrigued by Taki’s laissez-faire style of teaching. Granted this anime and most teachers I know take pride and show a great deal of respect for their vocational study, Taki behavior and demeanor for position is kind of an outlier, yet very interesting. My own instructor was something of a drill sergeant when came to playing music, but still was a very genteel and jolly soul who had a lot enthusiasm when it came to teaching and emphasized having fun and learning something from it above all else – especially during the many competitions we participated in. (Just in case you are wondering, we had 8 over the entire 3 years and won 1st place from 4 of them, so I guess we weren’t that bad.) Of course, Taki did ask the students what their intentions were ahead of time and uses his unorthodox, yet sound methods to get them to follow through. In a lot of ways, having a good instructor is just as important as learning to play well – someone who can dispense both guidance when you become lost, yet also motivation to climb over stumbling blocks and become a little bit better than you previously were. I can kind of see that in Taki’s character….somewhat.Of course, another reason why I’m enjoying the show is that it does emphasize music from the angle of not the virtuoso or person that can play on command, but from the perspective of someone who will experience very single nuance and introduces it to the viewer in an understandable way. Everything from tuning instruments via metronome to the latest episode that introduced something as simple as cleaning to the difference between constant practice and actual play. Color me impressed that the show does at least touch upon those aspects (not even required to) and on an approachable scale unlike many shows that has a meretriciously lens over it or dismiss completely in favor of the more frivolous moments. Bringing up another distant memory of entering my middle school band, it was something of a learning curve to switch from the violin I had in elementary school to the trumpet, despite my past musical knowledge and some shared elements that all instruments have common. Along with learning how to play and a host of new vocabulary that came with it such as: lip aperture and what means to do glissando in pitch, basic care, playing technique, and other smaller variables were worlds apart from what I was use to and should be. As far as which did I like the best: the trumpet was somewhat more enjoyable and less stressful since I only had to remember 2 very important things and you can actually get more ranges of tone out of it unlike other instruments where the only human input is reliant by striking keys or fingering strings – although, some people might disagree in favor of other factors. I was actually pretty good with the trumpet/cornet and still would probably be playing an instrument today if I didn’t stop at my 2nd year of high school, but wanted to focus more on my academics instead. However, I can still remember my training and feel like I can pick it back up again and not lose a beat…no pun intended.
Even though I have somewhat fond memories of my band days, Sound Euphonium really does bring out the pleasure and accomplishment learning to play an instrument can bring, and even more so when you finally have your part down playing as a group. I personally never had the “sudden epiphanies” most characters experience, but can say that for the one or two concerts that I did play in up until high school, I did feel really good about myself – being able to hear how I played, how everyone else played, and just having that moment of “Wow, that wasn’t terrible as it went in practice” as the audience clapped/cheered after the performance was done. Granted that the show is somewhat far from developing the true accomplishment, the little victories along the way do have their own value. While I have no desire to relive those days or even try to get back into music other than from a listener perspective that greatly benefited from playing, hopefully, Sound Euphonium can impart similar feelings on those that never played an instrument or always wanted to have some sort of musical affinity. Love the direction the show is going in and hope it can continue with same amount of craftsmanship it has shown each week.