This I Believe

Carley - Knoxville, Tennessee
Entered on December 10, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: creativity

My older brother is someone I have always looked up to. He always has somewhere to be and someone interesting to be there with. He was in the band in school and loved it. So , naturally that’s what I did too. I had always dreamed of playing the flute and I finally was! However for me it wasn’t quite what I expected.

I was always afraid I would mess up and someone would hear me. Unfortunately for me those fears became a reality when the band director began testing us in front of the entire class. I began to struggle more and more because of my fear of making a mistake. My nerves would sky rocket on the night before each weekly test. I would practice until my face was numb. I would give up, thinking there was no hope and curl up in bed, praying for a miracle. Each test day went about the same. I would rush down from my last class to get in just a little more practice time before my impending doom. Then the bell would ring and much to my dismay, the horror would begin. The test always began with the best flutist and went to the worst. Luckily, I was the last so I would begin to wiggle my trembling fingers on the keys in hopes that this would bring about some radical change in my ability. I became progressively more nervous as each flutist finished. My entire body would tremble. My mouth would lose all moisture and my hands would sweat and everything became blurry. Finally, it was my turn. I would let out a few desperate squeaks and finally give up. I finally decided I just wasn’t cut out for band and I would quit before High School.

One day a man that would change my life came to talk to us. His name was Mr. Connell and he was the band director at the high school I would be going to. He sat on the floor and talked to us like we were his friends not his prisoners. So I thought “Why not give it a shot?” I began making really great friends and really enjoying it but I was still afraid to make a mistake. One day Mr. Connell stopped the band, looked at me and said, “ Don’t just play the notes, play everything like you mean it. Even if you mess up and you play it like you mean it people won’t even notice the mistake.” So I did. It was exhilarating! I never felt so proud!

This concept was something I had to remember throughout my life as well. Many people go through life just “playing the notes” or doing what they think is expected of them and don’t live life like they mean it. In life you shouldn’t just “play the notes”. Play them like you mean them.