Musical Rough Patches
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Health and Wellness

Musical Rough Patches

Music used to be the thing that made me feel in control of my life, but lately, I've been so afraid of it that I haven't been able to eat, or sleep well.

Musical Rough Patches

Only one person knows that I cried before my studio's recital yesterday because my run through prior to it led to me feeling like a complete disgrace. I wanted to give up in the worst way. Music used to be the thing that made me feel in control of my life, but lately, I've been so afraid of it that I haven't been able to eat, or sleep well.

As a student who is getting ready to graduate next semester, to say I am scared would be an understatement. I consider myself lucky to be studying music with the Professors at my University who are all successful in their expertise. However, at a personal level, I have felt nothing, but discouraged.

It's not the normal "I will never be good enough" feeling that every musician goes through from time to time-- It's an "I'm scared that I am not a musician and I'm only getting worse" feeling that paralyzes you to not even want to look at your instrument-- It's the "I respect these amazing musicians who teach me, but they are ashamed of me as a student" thought.

I began playing a secondary instrument this semester and it hasn't been easy for me to find balance between that, my primary, and my writing endeavors. I have no regrets learning another instrument, I've made a lot of progress and I am proud of that. It's just hard to be positive when all the feedback you get is negative. It's even more difficult to notice the little improvements when you're making the mistakes of a beginner, on an instrument you've been playing for over ten years.

I remembered back to my previous private instructor who had always encouraged me. I decided to write to him and ask for his advice on the way I was feeling and he said something that helped to lift me back up:

"You are a musician. Whether or not you play another note on your saxophone in your whole life you are a musician. You have already walked a brave and unique path. You're studying music and your writing and how that will all come together for you may remain a mystery but it will be a career that is Uniquely Yours. And because it's a unique path it's harder for others around you to visualize your future".

I felt inclined to write about this because feeling this way has been another lesson about how anything worth having is going to take work, it's not always going to be perfect. Just because you keep making a dumb mistake, doesn't mean your crazy-- maybe you're just approaching it the wrong way, maybe you're distracted, maybe you need a break, or perhaps you're making the mistake because you're still learning and that's okay.

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