As a singer, I know firsthand how hard rejection can feel. Singing is a very emotional experience for me, so when I don’t receive a role or callback for something I desperately want, not only do I feel like a bad singer, I feel like a terrible person. When I sing, I sing from the heart, and it feels like they’re not only rejecting my voice, but my entire being. That’s the sucky thing about being a singer, the fact that you can get so emotionally invested in it. Don’t get me wrong, instrumentalists definitely have it bad as well (I played cello for three years). However, for me, when I was brushed off as an instrumentalist it didn’t hurt nearly as bad.

There are a lot of things that suck about being a singer if I’m going to be completely honest. The fact that I can’t drink milk, soda, or coffee DAYS before a concert because it messes with my vocal chords. The overwhelming hours I have to put into practicing, sometimes canceling plans with friends, or waking up extremely early to warm up. The amount of things I have to remember to make a song sound good (good posture, good breath, the notes, the dynamics). The fact that everyone you audition for wants something completely different from you. How people tell you to “belt one out” for them when you mention you’re a singer. How you feel when you get rejected and question if it’s even worth it.

But then, when I’m questioning why I continue to try so hard for nothing in return, I listen to music. And the feeling I get when I’m singing or when I hear music; the overwhelming serenity and exultation, it reminds of why I do this in the first place.

And it reminds me of the many incredible reasons why I pursue music. The feeling you get when people clap for you at a recital. The feeling you get when your voice teacher tells you how much better you’ve gotten. The immense proudness you feel when you finally nail that note or passage in a song that has been bugging you for a while. The unity of sound when you’re singing with a choir and creating beautiful music. The happiness when you’re making music theory jokes with your friends.

Music is so very important to society as we know it. It creates identities, it tells stories of the past and present, it exercises our creativity, and it influences us in every way. It can lift our spirits, it can makes us cry, and the way it affects us matters.

Yes it’s hard, it’s really really hard sometimes, and I am so proud of you for putting yourself out there. You are a part of something big and beautiful and fulfilling, so please don’t give up. You are talented and it will be worth it I promise.