“It’s ok. You don’t need to stand out! Just go with the flow. Don’t worry about it!” My friend Abby reassured me. I sighed. She was right. I shouldn’t be worrying about it. It was just a fantasy. There were about 20 freshmen that joined the FVRR this year. I made a couple friends when I had first walked into band camp, and I was hanging out with them after practice was over. There was a small moment that happened during band camp today, and I was thinking about it way too much. The music director accidentally mistook my friend, Mai-Anh, as me, Aria. “Aria! Turn in your flute a bit. Your pitch is a little sharp.”
I clutched my clarinet and stopped playing, looking at the music director. Mai-Anh had a confused look on her face. The rest of our friends were giggling, and on the outside, I smiled, knowing this was pretty funny. “Oh. Is that not your name? Oops. What’s your name?” The director realized. “I’m Mai-Anh.” “Ah alright.” After practice ended, my friends burst out laughing, making fun of how Mai and I looked similar. I laughed along with them. “You guys are exactly the same!”
On the walk home, I was spilling my thoughts to Abby. “So many freshmen joined this year. How could we stand out? The band directors don’t know half of the freshmen here, and we’re just a mix in the band. I don’t want to be just another one of those freshmen. I want to be noticed!” When I arrived home, I took out my clarinet, and got ready to practice. If I wanted to stand out, I had to work hard. I picked up my folder off the ground, and placed it on my music stand.
“Wow! That was really good!” My section leader exclaimed, after hearing me play a part of the music. That made me a bit too happy. I was having a small mental celebration in my head, when I heard a squeak from a clarinet next to me. I looked over, and I saw someone in the section was struggling with the music. I stared at my music stand for a couple seconds, before turning towards them. “Hey! You could try this alternate fingering. It’s a lot easier to play the fast scales with it.” I said, showing them the fingerings on my clarinet. They watched me, and then turned back to their music. They quickly played the music, using the advice I gave them. “Good job! You’re doing really well!” The section leader said, this time to the person I had just taught the alternate fingering to. I saw them smile.
After the clarinet section practiced for a couple more minutes, the section leader walked to the middle of the arc. “Ok! Everyone try playing the music at this tempo together!” She started a metronome. “1, 2, 3, 4, ready…, and,…” We played the first couple measures of the piece. “That was great! You are all improving a lot!” Realization hit me at that moment. I didn’t need to stand out. This was a group effort to make this band run. We had to work together. I was just another one of the freshmen in a great work of art.