college · Life Lessons · Music

Oboe Life: Take 15 – Am I really supposed to be a Music Performance Major?

I have this insecurity…

It’s funny to me how I can somehow have this insecurity, and the reason why it’s so funny to me is because most people wouldn’t expect me to even have it. I never really openly tried discussing this with anyone or even tell myself that it was okay to have this insecurity. Like…it was something I kept questioning over the years during high school, and I’m still questioning myself today.

My insecurity is the fact that I don’t know if I really should be studying to be a Music Performance Major.

And the reason I keep questioning myself about this is because I keep wondering whether or not it’s the right path for me, or if I deserve to be studying this, or if I’m just wasting my time on something that I don’t know whether or not it will help me succeed in life. It also comes down to me just comparing myself to others, which I shouldn’t even be doing, but I can’t help wonder why I should try to pursue the same dreams as them when the level of our passions aren’t even the same. That sounded so pity, but for some reason I can’t help but to think that.

The insecurity started when I attended this Summer music camp for the past three years, and every time I went, I felt like I was below the level of talent compared to the other musicians who were the same age as me. I sort of made myself feel better by saying that the only reason they were better was because they were taking private lessons, or their high school was more rigorous, or that they were just more talented than me…etc. However, I really did try to make myself better rather than to feel better, and I did that by actually starting private lessons again with the right teacher, challenging myself to read and play harder material than what I was expected to learn in high school, and pushing my way to be this person that I wanted to envision myself to be, which was this Oboist on her way to be in a Professional Symphony Orchestra. That is my dream, but I still held this insecurity.

It really heightened when I was applying for Colleges, scheduling my auditions, and trying to get in contact with the Oboe teachers and ask them for a lesson prior to the audition. Of course, I didn’t feel as prepared as I hoped, and I wish there were things some people had experienced before, that way they could have informed me before I could have made myself a complete idiot at some points during the audition process. Like…recording my prescreen recordings through a cell phone (so stupid), or not applying to a lot of schools that could have potentially taken me, or not preparing in the right way. If I could somehow summon this time machine to help change my decisions or inform me on things of what to do or not to do, I think it would have made me more successful than what I am now. So, after I got the results of the colleges I didn’t get into, it really brought my self-esteem down and my insecurity grew inside of me. Now I don’t really care of the other colleges that didn’t accept me, but I still have that feeling of questioning whether or not I should still be studying this field.

So, I bring this up because I attended this Ensemble Placement Audition at CSULB, and for some reason the entire time I just kept asking myself “why am I here?”. From the time I accepted to study at BCCM towards the end of my summer, I really didn’t question whether or not I belonged in the circle of future professional performers, and it was really only today when I attended that workshop did I really start thinking about it. Through sleep depravity, and not eating, and driving for 2 hours, I just happened to start thinking about why I was sitting in a room filled with great musicians who have this passion for music and could succeed in it. Even just writing this all out now and out of my system is something that I’m still trying to think over.

Honest to myself, I shouldn’t even be worrying about any of this insecurity bullshoot (because I refuse to use the actual cuss word). I know I worked hard to get me to a result that I deserve. No, I didn’t make it to the very top of my dreams, but I still got something better that is worth the hard work I spent all these years. I was late into the music world for potential professional musicians, and I wasn’t fortunate enough to have the same resources as them, but does that mean I deserve any less when I worked just as hard as them? Oboe is a very expensive instrument, but I’m still so grateful that my mom worked hard to support me into this sort of wonky dream that we don’t know will feed me in the long run.

What am I going to do with this Insecurity?

After giving it so much thought and sort of discreetly talking about it with my significant other (he’s also going to be a Performance major at UCI) on our home from LB today, I just can’t keep comparing myself to other people. No one will ever experience the same things that I have went through or understand the struggles to get to where I am. Also, I know that I have inspired others to try harder in including music into their lives because I’m one of few classmates from high school music to be pursuing this kind of challenging study. Fighting the voice of this insecurity  is going to be hard, and I know it will be with me forever, but the only way I can ever defeat it is by just focusing on competing with myself rather than other people. I’m never afraid of hard work, so I just have to keep at it.

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