The Musician I Was Before
I was a middle schooler, eighth grade, when I first received audition music. However, this music was not 13-year old caliber. It was – wait for it – high school music! Scary, I know. My band teacher at the time, Mr. Burger, had suggested to me, as well as a few other trumpet players in my grade, that he believed we had the potential to place into one of the two honors bands at the local high school. While externally I was calm and composed, honored, my mind raced. Honors band? I thought. Don’t you have to be, like, good for that? Up until then, and even now sometimes, I had never thought of myself as a talented musician. During band I would look at my fellow trumpeters, seeing nothing but their shadow in which I lived. However, glancing down as Mr. Burger babbled on, I noticed my own silhouette on the ground amongst those same exact shadows.
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So, I did what any normal person does when they receive a hard piece of work: look at it, and panic. Although I practiced this music religiously, I did so blindly. Wrong rhythms, out of tune, incorrect tempo. At every thought of auditioning, I got waves of anxiety throughout my entire being. How could I possibly make this feeling go away? The answer, the old, eighth grade me thought? Quit!
Fast forward a year, freshman year to be exact, and here we have Molly in the exact same situation as before. This time, more pressure! At this point in my newly christened high school music career, I had realised the importance of not giving up. Kinda. More like I had been wired to think that giving up made you a bad person, a loser. However, by this time I had developed my music skills. But pressure from other students gave me a sense of how behind I was. They had an edge over me. They were good.
Auditioning going into sophomore year was treacherous to say the least. Whereas last year I had been pretty much straight up lazy, this year I had an intense drive to be good. You know, like the others. But traces of last years anxiety remained strong in my brain. Hearing my friends play was torture. They were so talented, and the more I heard them play, the more I doubted myself. But I was so determined to avenge my past self that I brushed off any help from my peers or even lesson teachers. That and I was embarrassed to have anyone hear me play. Despite the months of torment from the same tune ticking in my mind, the bragging about “how high I can play”, and the crippling self doubt, I attended my audition unlike the year prior. And the outcome was not as horrible as I thought it would be. Honors Symphonic Winds, Trumpets: Molly P.
Seeing my name on that piece of paper hanging outside the band room transformed me as a musician. Although it was only the second to top band, it gave me hope in myself that I could overcome what I thought was impossible. They’re better than me. But through my hard work and dedication, I came out on top. I can’t do it, I’m not good enough. But I was good enough. I was amazing. And I let myself keep thinking that. I am good. But most importantly, I only need to be better than the musician I was yesterday; I need to keep working.
A year later, I stood in the same spot as I did as a freshman. A similarly hung piece of paper floated as students walked by. There was written the names of the prestigious musicians, the students in the very top band. The hard work had paid off. Honors Wind Ensemble, Trumpets: Molly P.