How Music Helped Me Grow Up

2 February 2019

In fourth grade, my band teacher asked me to play the Star Spangled Banner on the saxophone for our first concert. I would play solo in front of every family member of every student in the concert band. Even though my mom kept reminding me that the audience would be forgiving,I felt everyone in the audience looking at me, listening to me, waitingto hear my mistake. I played, and as shaky and nervous as I was the entire time, I played well. My heartbeat did not return to normal for a few minutes after my performance.

Four years later in eighth grade, I had a solo again, but this time, I had to improvise during a school concert for Jazz Band. Improvising means I could not practice exactly what I was going to play; I was just going to freestyle. I was just as nervous as that night in fourth grade concert band. I performed well then sat down and soon lost the butterflies that were in my stomach. Later on that year I auditioned for regional band, which accepted a few players deemed the best due to the amount of points earned during the audition. The hours I spent practicing my pieces and memorizing scales were enough to earn a first saxophone chair. Those butterflies returned in my freshmen year whenI was in a rock bandcalled Feed the Bod. My 18 year old brother, four other older boys who were excellent musicians, and 15 year old me made up the band. The boys were more experienced, more confident, and were all friends. I felt excluded at times and other times I felt as if all eyes were on me.

My lack of confidence towards playing the saxophone for school and Feed the Bod reflected my insecurity. Despite the applause of the audience and the support of my brother and parents, I was constantly nervous and afraid of making a mistake. Sometimes I felt as if everyone was watching me, and sometimes I would feel invisible. I worried about my athletic skills, appearance, grades, sense of humor, and boys. My first love treated me terribly. I spent my time with friends who ended up dragging me down. The people who surrounded me were contributing nothing positive to my life. My sophomore year, my grades were very different than my freshmen year. I went from getting all A’s in all honors classes to mostly B’s with the occasional C. My whole life revolved around a cycle of self hate, fed by insecurity and an emotionally abusive relationship. I needed a radical change, and it would not happen overnight. I eliminated the toxic relationships from my life and started fresh.

Since then I have made improvements to my life, little by little. My attitude has changed and the people in my life have changed as well. I chose to surround myself with people who make me happy rather than those who bring me down. I chose to care less about how people perceive me, and focus on being kind and compassionate to the people I interact with. I get exercise, work, do tennis and soccer, and date a boy who treats me right. My confidence has slowly improved. In the past few weeks, I have been working on recording more music in a professional setting. My confidence in my musical skills as well as the technology that goes with recording have improved immensely.

Listening to the songs Feed the Bod recorded, I know that sticking with the saxophone despite my self consciousness has benefited me. No matter how close I came to quitting, I could not bear the idea of missing out on playing an instrument I love. I can feel proud of the music, and proud of how I have grown throughout the years.

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