Now music has become much more than a hobby. It’s a passion, an escape, and a way to challenge myself. It’s been a way for me to meet new people and find some of my best friends. It is something that has taught me some very valuable lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
Joining band really helped me come out of my shell. As a drum major, I have to step up and be a leader for my peers. One of the biggest steps that I had to take was learning to be vulnerable, but with the help of the directors and other band members, I became much more comfortable and confident with public speaking and taking charge of a group. I also have been able to challenge myself through solo and ensemble contests, performing at BOA St Louis, as well as auditioning and making all-district band in high school, and the eighth-grade honor band.
Because I’ve done piano for so long, I’ve learned a lot along the way. One thing that has helped me most was performing for others. Being a little kid in elementary school, and playing all by yourself in front of a lot of people is definitely scary! But, as scary as it was, every time I performed, I got better. The more nervous I was, typically the better I performed.
I also experienced firsthand how real the phrase “practice makes perfect” really is. If you decide not to work for something, you truly will never achieve it. Some things will take years and years to achieve, and even seem impossible at times. If you practice, work, and try your best for it, you will achieve your goal.
For me, I had always wanted to participate in the Sonatina Festival at East Central College, which involved memorizing a sonatina and playing it in front of a judge. Each year my teacher would ask me to join. I got too scared and didn’t sign up. One year I finally did, and it was a true turning point in my piano career.
I spent hours and hours preparing for my performance, and I had perfected it the way I had wanted. The nerves I felt were just like years ago when I played at my first Christmas concert. Sure enough, I got a 1 rating, which was my goal. My past, as well as current teachers, were so happy for me. It finally felt like everything I had worked for the past few years really came true.
I think it’s safe to say that I’ve come a long way from playing concerts for my stuffed animals, and being in the band just because “it looked fun”. My life would not be the same if I hadn’t asked to take those first piano lessons when I was little, and when I decided to try the clarinet at band night in sixth grade. I had no idea what huge chapter that would open up for me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
To the band directors: Thank you for everything you do for us! You all have a very big impact on our lives that you might not realize. We love you!
To my piano teachers: Thank you for teaching me to do what I love. I would not be where I am as a person and a musician without you.
Mom and Dad: Thanks for always driving me to practice and lessons, and for always supporting me and coming to all my events!