My second musical moment that impacted my life is probably the one that has impacted me the most: learning how to read music.
Though this seems very simple, it actually lead to so many amazing things in my life. Music has and always will be a huge part of my life. I started learning how to read music when I started learning the cello in 5th grade. I had always loved music from before I ever learned how to read it. It only felt natural that I would pick up an instrument and learn it to the best of my ability.
In middle school my Mom would drop me off in the morning on her way to work. I would get there about an hour before school actually began, so I would head to the performance stage, and for a solid 3 years of middle school, I practiced my cello for 1 hour before school, 1 hour during school, and 1 hour after school. Needless to say I learned music very fast, and became very passionate about perfecting my talent.
Learning a musical instrument and learning to read music became a microcosm of what would eventually be very important life skills for me: setting goals, knowing the clear path to the result, and going for it! Whether it was a Bach cello suite, or a bass line in a full string orchestra, practicing towards my performance and perfecting the music was my way of creating structure in my life. I also blame being a musician on being a perfectionist in just about everything I do today.
My passion for music and performing evolved as I got to high school and wanted to be a part of my high school marching band. I learned how to play marimba and other mallet instruments and played crash cymbals during parades. Being a part of a drum line is only something that other percussionists can understand. It was so fun!
I eventually thought that I wanted to learn an instrument in every musical family, so I picked up a bass clarinet and performed that during our concert band season. Luckily, the bass clarinet is written in bass clef, which I already knew from playing the cello for so many years!
By my senior year of high school I auditioned and became the drum major for my marching band. My high school band director, Dave Kauffman, always grumbled under his breath about having a string player lead his marching band, but my experience as a musician really helped me be a successful leader for the 100+ members marching on a field every Friday night at a football game. During this time of my life, I gained a lot of really important leadership skills, that I still cary with me today. I know how to communicate well. I know how to handle pressure situations. I know how to handle things that change in an instant. And I know how to perform in front of large crowds. I don’t know that I would be who I am today if it weren’t for the endless skill sets that I acquired while being the drum major.
In all, learning how to read music not only helped me learn how to play an instrument, but it helped me learn how to handle a lot of the issues that I am handed throughout life. It lead to the deep passion that I have for all things relating to music and entertainment today. I’m lucky to have had a supportive family, amazing teachers, and talented friends to help take my talent and passion for reading music and turning it in to an aspect of my life that I can’t live without.