Oh music--the bane and the love of my life.
When I first started the flute it was an absolute joy. It was a game: Can I get out those notes? How high can I go? "Mom, guess what! I played Jingle Bells today at school!" But it slowly transformed into a mountain of stress. How could I capture the pure joy of music I once had in Elementary and Middle School?
I am a music major at a prominent University in Utah Valley...graduate student even. I study flute performance and what a roller coaster it has been.
I started in sixth grade and didn't start private lessons until eight grade. Being the oldest child, my parents didn't "know the ropes." I was rather behind, in comparison with my college colleagues. But I loved the flute and was unaware of my lack of ability. Soon Elementary and Middle School flutists started dropping music for other activities. I emerged as one of the better flutists, but I was never "the best."
|Me Junior year of High School.|
In High School it was no different. I auditioned for the top band at my school as a Freshman and didn't make it. Even as a Senior I was never first chair. But this isn't a whine-fest. Even though my musical career was marred with set backs, it was also lined with triumphs--personal triumphs and musical triumphs. I got an "I" at State solo-ensemble as a Freshman and Junior and a "I+" as a Senior. I was in All-State Orchestra twice and traveled with my High School band to Pearl Harbor and Normandy, France. I don't say these things to boast, but these were the turning points that led me to the fulfillment of a dream. It was only because of them that I gained the self-confidence needed for college. But I always had this deep, persistent fear that I wasn't the best.
|Me in Normandy, France thanking a Veteran from the 101st Airborn.|
My college career was much the same, marred with set-backs and feelings of failure and with the occasional "personal victory." College was the time of my life where I lost much of my pure and simple love of music. I loved the songs I was playing. I loved the new techniques I was learning as methods of expression, but there was an undercurrent of self-doubt. I was never the "best" so how or why could I continue? I started to get nervous while performing. Flute became a Major more than a love. Of course I still enjoyed playing and performing, but it didn't have the same magic as when I was younger. Where was it? Many times I thought it would be found when I was "the best," or when I was first chair, or when I was in the top orchestra. And it wasn't.
|After a Woodwind Chamber night performance with my flute, oboe, piano trio.|
Slowly (and yes, I have miles to go) I am learning that a master's in flute performance or a bachelors or even a successful high school career is not required for music to capture our soul and change it. Now, my love of music can be found in knowing that I am the vehicle through which music can change our souls. I love music and I love performing because music captures emotion which cannot be put into words...in many ways music is the most abstract of all the arts. I don't have to be the best to have this ability. All that is needed is a pure love.