"Music has made me more confident as a person to find success in life experiences that initially may instead seem to be an obstacle."
I began participating in music in the sixth grade during my first year of middle school, and I am still persevering seven years later. Initially, I would say that music was a challenge, though it is not something I regret. In the sixth grade, the first instrument that I started learning to play was the clarinet. At that point, and even through middle school, music was basic and routine. However, it did give me at least a taste of what was to come.
I still remember my first chair test, where I played a piece of music and was placed in a ranking based on how well I performed in relation to all of my classmates. During the first chair test, I became extremely nervous and performed poorly, receiving the title of thirteenth chair. I didn’t like how it felt at the time, the feeling of failure, so I came into contact with a private instructor named Emily Vallejo who helped me improve my clarinet skills. With her assistance, I was boosted to first chair on the very next chair test, and I stayed there until I graduated from middle school.
Following middle school, I found delving into the world of high school music a shock! The first difference was marching band, which presented the difficult prospect of playing while marching. Even though it may seem easy, let me reassure you that it is not. But, with some practice and a lot of hard work, I learned one can accomplish anything.
What marching band did for me, though, was to not only show me how to work hard, but also how to work with a team to create something beautiful. It was never easy. There were many times when I was exhausted in the evening and would give in to sleep at 8:00 PM, only to get up at 3:30 AM the next morning to do homework. Regardless of the challenges presented, my band mates and I made it through the season together as one big family.
High school also brought another challenge after marching season was over: concert band. Just like playing and marching, this seems like an easy task. Yet, it is actually more difficult than it may initially seem. Concert season begins with tryouts, similar to the middle school band, to be placed in a chair within one of three bands. Freshman year was an awakening because I was crushed by the upperclassmen in terms of skill, and I knew that I needed to get better. In music, there are numerous significant competitions, such as the Central Oklahoma Directors Association (CODA), Oklahoma Music Educators Association (OkMEA Allstate), and Oklahoma Youth Orchestras (OYO). In my quest to hone my skills, I started to seek out these events. At first, I was very nervous anytime I played, but that eventually changed.
After four years of high school, I can only now finally admit that I have succeeded in getting better as I have been placed in many positions, such as CODA Wind Ensemble Honor Band and OkMEA Allstate Symphonic Band.
After seven years of music, I can confirm that it was not easy, translating into hundreds of hours of work. This challenging journey through music has taught me many things:
- how to improve by showing me the power of hard work;
- how not to simply “exist” in front of groups of people, but rather to perform and engage an audience;
- and how to appreciate the arts.
- Finally, it has made me more confident as a person to find success in life experiences that initially may instead seem to be an obstacle.
To conclude, music has had a tremendous impact on my life, and it could have an impact on yours as well!
- Josh Bruza