My flute journey has been filled with ups and downs
but I'd like to share how I got to where I am now
Hi, I'm Anamarie!
Between performance highs and the disappointing rejections, I've felt it all.
I understand what it's like to constantly
compare yourself to others.
I've heard all the mean self-talk my brain has said about my flute playing.
And I know the constant questioning of "am I good enough?"
It has taken me a long time to figure out the key to the successful moments, but here's how it happened
(in a nutshell).
I began playing the flute when I was in 6th grade. I remember that I had almost no difficulty making a sound with the flute, but that is pretty much where any “natural talent” stopped. Everything else about this instrument (hand position, tone quality, finger dexterity, breath control, lung capacity) was completely foreign to my body.
I continued to play throughout high school and was apart of every ensemble you could think of: marching band, honor bands, youth orchestra, flute choirs, and school musicals. Flute playing became a huge part of my identity. Throughout this time, I began to develop a burning desire to play “perfectly” and be “the best” flute player.
Talk about unachievable standards, yikes.
As I entered college, I was beyond thrilled to be a music major.
But over the course of the first semester, my confidence as a flute player slowly began to decline. I began to hear all the flaws in my playing.
The mental challenges of trying to figure out how to effortlessly play this instrument were exhausting, so exhausting in fact that that
Yep, you read that right.
Halfway through my first semester of college, I switched out of being a music major.
I couldn’t handle the feelings of inadequacy.
I could hear the imperfections in my playing and it drove me crazy.
Every little crack, finger flub, and out of tune note felt like a personal attack.
I quit for about a year and a half, and it seemed like a midlife crisis at 18.
The flute was a part of who I was and now I had to try and figure out my identity. I was searching for other passions to be ignited and I needed to discover who I was without the flute. But, ultimately, I was more lost than ever.
There was half of me that knew I wanted to start playing again, but then the other half of me said,
I had made this decision and
now I have to live with the consequences.
But I didn't actually have to live with the consequences. And as the beginning of my Junior year of college edged closer, I knew what I needed to do.
On the first day of classes I decided to email the flute professor in the music program. The self doubt questions were running through my head; what if she didn’t remember who I was, what if she didn’t want me back in her studio, or, even worse, what if she knew I was no good?
But, I wanted back in. Badly.
I had experienced life without the flute and decided that life is more fulfilling with it.
So I sent that email. And by the start of the second week of my Junior year, I was a music major once again.
Were my playing issues still present? Absolutely, but this time the determination was strong.
Over the next 6 years this perseverance allowed me to break down my playing issues in ways I had not been able to do before.
I didn't simply give up if I couldn't do something. I spent time analyzing the issues, reflected upon what worked and what didn't, and (most importantly) I promised myself that I could no longer give my self-doubt voice in my head the microphone. And, slowly, my playing issues began to iron themselves out.
What happened next was that I grew.
Everything musically began to grow for me; my confidence, my tone, my technique. But, even more importantly, who I was as a person grew. I was finding myself as a musician and a person.
And this growth allowed me to achieve and pursue things that I never thought was possible.
Mindfulness, Reflection, and Self Kindness
That was the key.