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Old March 19th, 2017, 01:51 AM   #1
gherkin2pickle
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Default Anxiety over trying out for drum major

*DISCLAIMER: This is a really long post. Don't read if you have something more important to spend your time on.*

This is mostly about band, but anxiety is directly woven into it, I promise.

I'm a sophomore in high school, and my band's 2017 show is coming up fast (We're doing the Lion King musical from Broadway!), and I am so excited. I'm second chair clarinet, and... I've got a problem. Last year, around May, my band director said he was expecting my name to be on the audition list for drum major. We have four drum majors now, and two are seniors. So, I bet he'll be accepting two more drum majors in to be assistants. So, here is going to be a list of pros and cons of me being drum major that I was hoping you guys could help me sort out. Keep in mind that a drum major is a leader for the whole band, a person that everyone looks up to (or down to; I'm short compared to most other high schoolers).

Cons: -I am very, VERY shy. I don't talk to very many people at all. So who would vote for me as drum major since I don't really socialize that much?
-I'm very quiet. Yelling isn't in my nature, and drum majors have to yell a lot.
-I'm very scared of meeting new people, so greeting incoming freshmen would be hard.
-I'm very scared of those older than me. So interacting with my senior drum majors would be pretty daunting. I don't know them very well right now.
-My best friend is also going out for drum major, and he's a social butterfly. Everybody in the band loves him. And since I already compare myself to him so much (he has perfect grades, a lot of friends, etc.), I feel like being in a state of leadership beside him would just make me feel even more inferior than I already do.
-I cannot handle criticism very well. The smallest negative comment, even if it isn't out of ill will, can make me start crying.
-I criticize myself viciously. I will think about the smallest mistake for the entire day and then some, which will not help in productivity.
-My other best friend wants to be head section leader during marching band this year. If I don't become drum major, and stay in the clarinet section on the field, she won't get the chance because I will already be in that position by default by chair order.
-I have anxiety. Performances will likely cause me a lot of stress. I stress a lot about tiny things.
-My self confidence is in the pits right now. Has been for a while. That's part of why this decision is so hard.
-I'm always asking myself "What if?" What if I'm not as musically talented as I thought I am? What if I'm a total failure? What if everyone in the band sees me as the weak one?
-I'd probably be the only girl drum major. I know this is stupid, but having another female in the same situation would be comforting, at least.
-I'm deathly terrified of going to drum major camp. I hate camps. They force you to interact with a bunch of new people. Plus, from what I've heard, drum major camp involves a lot of skill assessments, which I crack under.
-I have a really hard time exiting my comfort zone.
-I love the clarinet section. I feel like I'm betraying them by leaving. (First and third chair clarinets are seniors, and the next best person is a junior who will be trying out color guard this year. So, we don't really have a ton of other options for the next section leader besides my best friend.)
-I feel like my proposal to become drum major is mostly centered around myself, not the band. Last year, the people trying out had to give a speech to the band about why they'll be a good drum major. I don't have any qualities that would add to the band. The only benefit from the entire thing would honestly just be me becoming more comfortable around others. And let's be honest; Nobody cares.
-I get really flustered when people come to me for help and/or questions, especially if I don't have the answer.
-I don't think I have the talent for drum major, to be honest. I know how to conduct thanks to my dad (former band teacher), and have practiced it a little bit, but... I don't have extensive skill. At least in my opinion.

Pros: -Being drum major will definitely help me become more assertive and outgoing. I'll get to know the band better.
-I LOVE music. I want to be in marching band in college, so taking on this leadership will get me "bonus points" when being considered for attending.
-My band director, my dad (who is a former band director), 3/4 of the current drum majors, a fellow clarinet section leader (technically two, first chair is already a drum major and a senior), both of my best friends, and the saxophone section leader (whom I know a bit better than everyone else in band besides my close friends) have all told me I should try it. With so many talented people saying I can do it, why am I still denying it? They think I can. Why don't I trust their opinion?
-I'd probably make a lot more friends, if people like me as drum major. More friends would probably boost my self confidence. Everyone needs more friends.
-The Lion King would be a really amazing show to be drum major for in my first year. Lion King is my favorite Disney movie. It would be so super special if I were drum major for it.
-My band director, my friends, my parents, I think pretty much everyone would see a positive difference in me. I'd like to think that being drum major would change me for the better.
-I pride myself on being kind and approachable. If anyone has a problem, I'd like to think they would feel at least somewhat comfortable talking to me about it.
-If I do this, I'll be setting an example. Everybody knows how shy I am. So, if I go for drum major, people in my position (mainly incoming freshmen), who are also quite shy, may gain the confidence to try through seeing me do it first.

So all of this raises the million dollar question(s): Am I worth it? Will I be able to give back to the band in a way different from the other drum majors? Will I make a positive impact? Since I can't really be positive towards myself that much, what makes anybody think I can bring something good to the band? I have been at war with myself over this issue for almost a year now. I thought I had time to decide at first, but that time is running out quickly. I need to decide. Please, if you've bothered to read this far, help me figure out what to do?

Thank you so very much ❤️ Please take care.
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Old March 19th, 2017, 09:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: Anxiety over trying out for drum major

As a musician myself, I can relate to a lot of what you're feeling. Your perfectionism is only natural; you just need to learn how to use it to your advantage (to improve) instead of using it against you (tearing yourself down). You have a lot more cons than pros, but actually some of those cons are pros. Your confidence might take a hit by putting yourself in situations with people who are more experienced, but it also gives you the opportunity and motivation to get better. You'll be able to receive advice on what you can do better, which will prepare you for anything you decide to do in college and even after that. At the end of the day, music isn't a competition, and how you separate the real musicians from the phony musicians is this: the real musicians only want to see you grow and flourish, and the phony musicians want to tear you down to make themselves look better because they don't have the dedication to work on their own craft.

Don't feel pressured to do this. It's your choice, and despite what your band director, family or anyone else thinks, do this because you want to.

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Old March 19th, 2017, 12:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: Anxiety over trying out for drum major

Thank you so much for replying so quickly, Amethyst ^.^

The more I think about it in a positive POV, I'm starting to see that the rewards of being drum major will far outweigh the drawbacks. I am so passionate about music, and the idea of being up on the podium guiding the band into making something beautiful is euphoric. And while it will be hard to work with the other drum majors because I feel inferior, it would be so humbling to be able to spend time with them. And even if the band DOESN'T vote me in as drum major... I can still say that I tried, and that in itself is rewarding enough.

Thank you for your help. I'm much closer to a decision now than I have ever been in the past year. ❤️
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Old March 19th, 2017, 12:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: Anxiety over trying out for drum major

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Thank you so much for replying so quickly, Amethyst ^.^

The more I think about it in a positive POV, I'm starting to see that the rewards of being drum major will far outweigh the drawbacks. I am so passionate about music, and the idea of being up on the podium guiding the band into making something beautiful is euphoric. And while it will be hard to work with the other drum majors because I feel inferior, it would be so humbling to be able to spend time with them. And even if the band DOESN'T vote me in as drum major... I can still say that I tried, and that in itself is rewarding enough.

Thank you for your help. I'm much closer to a decision now than I have ever been in the past year. ❤️
That's great, I'm glad I could help one thing I've discovered is that older musicians are often thrilled to have younger people seek advice from (and just have the guts to play alongside) them, and are enthusiastic to guide you on the right path for you. There is a lot of anxiety at first, but the more you do it, the desire for more will overpower your fear of being judged. Let me know how it goes!

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Old March 19th, 2017, 01:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: Anxiety over trying out for drum major

You fear they dislike you, and may not choose you. Maybe you are just what they want? Something new, something different. In my experience, the ones whom are outcasts become welcomed in these situations. People want to see others succeed.

Bre, what if this is exactly what you need? It could be a massive step to breaking your cocoon of fear and anxiety. Another step towards becoming whom you really are.

(I apologize if this was too forward)
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Old April 26th, 2017, 05:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: Anxiety over trying out for drum major

Well, I have some news.

My band director said that he really doesn't want to have four drum majors again. So, he's really going to try to stick with three. That's a problem. That means there's only one position left. And, like I said, my best friend is an absolute social butterfly. Everyone in the band would pick him over me, definitely. Plus, he can play more than one instrument. I play clarinet and a bit of self taught piano, but that's it. And, he takes private lessons. I don't. I'm too scared of the private lessons teacher. She's an absolute nightmare. And, he's gone to State Festival with his oboe solo. I went to regional festival last year, got a 2, cried for literal days, and didn't go again this year. I was too afraid. I'll go next year, probably, but I never want to do a solo again.
The odds are against me. BUT...
Today, all four drum majors went to the front of the room and said that tryouts are in about a month. They said that if anyone is interested, we need to talk with a current drum major and see about attending a couple of practices. That doesn't mean that you're absolutely going to try out, though. It's just if you're even remotely considering it. And I am. So I will go. My other best friend, the one who isn't trying out, is convinced that our band director will not be able to choose between the two of us. She thinks he'll just have four drum majors again. I really hope so. The only reason we had four last year is because everyone who tried out was too good. I hope that happens again. That's the only way I'll possibly make it.

Anyway, just an update. Thanks for the prior advice, guys ❤️
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Old April 26th, 2017, 06:37 PM   #7
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Default Re: Anxiety over trying out for drum major

Hey, glad to hear you're still going for it! A 2 is not bad, especially for your first time, don't put yourself down for that. And don't feel like your friend will automatically get chosen - go to the practices. See how you like it. Good luck and have a good time. Music is supposed to be fun, not a competition. Even if you don't make it, you won't have the regret of not trying right?

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Old May 8th, 2017, 07:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: Anxiety over trying out for drum major

Sorry for the repeated updates, but I've now so much to tell you!

A week ago, I stayed after school to talk about drum major with my current section leader, a senior who was drum major last year. We worked a bit on conducting, and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Then, we went to our band director and asked him if he had any extra advice for me. Well, we ended up sitting there for about 45 minutes, and he gave me some valuable insight. My dad showed up too, and he also helped give me some pointers. I realized something, too; my dad has been a pastor almost all of his life. A pastor is the main leader in a church. I have had this magnificent leadership figure in my life this ENTIRE time and didn't even realize it! I can ask him questions and ask for tips, and they'll be just as valid ^.^ So that's very good.

I also went to a practice today, and I almost threw up multiple times throughout the day because I was so worried about it. I was so scared that my best friend had already learned much more than me, and that I would look dumb when conducting next to him. But actually, we were both on the same page! It was really, super comforting. Two drum majors helped us learn the fight song, and I have another practice tomorrow, and another the day after. Our band director wants tryouts to be this Friday, in four days, but the drum majors are gonna try to get him to push it back. We're simply not ready yet 😄

Anyway, that's all that I've got for now. The rehearsal was a lot more fun that I thought it would be, and I'm actually so excited for the next few. Thank you for reading! You've been an incredible help ❤️
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Old May 15th, 2017, 10:07 PM   #9
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Default Re: Anxiety over trying out for drum major

Sorry again.

Auditions are this Thursday. I'm worried though, because my throat is in a terrible state of being red, sore, swollen, and might even have some yellow in the back. It's not good. I can't possibly do commands when I can't even whisper without pain.

I don't know what I'm gonna do. I highly doubt I will be better by Thursday. We'll see.

Anyway, that's it. The big day is coming, and I have two practices before it. I really hope I don't screw it up.

Thank you for reading again ❤️
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Old May 15th, 2017, 10:14 PM   #10
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Sorry again.

Auditions are this Thursday. I'm worried though, because my throat is in a terrible state of being red, sore, swollen, and might even have some yellow in the back. It's not good. I can't possibly do commands when I can't even whisper without pain.

I don't know what I'm gonna do. I highly doubt I will be better by Thursday. We'll see.

Anyway, that's it. The big day is coming, and I have two practices before it. I really hope I don't screw it up.

Thank you for reading again ❤️
That doesn't sound good at all have you been to the doctor? This is a great opportunity, but by all means don't make yourself worse by pushing yourself too hard.

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Old May 16th, 2017, 10:43 AM   #11
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Default Re: Anxiety over trying out for drum major

I don't really have time to go to the doctor. I have practice today and tomorrow, and I was gone from school yesterday and last week Thursday due to my AP test and a trip that my S4SD group took. I have a bunch of homework that I can't skip out on doing, and it's all really time consuming. I just have to hope that my throat will be better by then. If not, I'll see if he will move my audition to Monday or something. If he won't, I'll just have to make the best of the situation. I'm sure my band mates will understand if my commands aren't on par because I'm ill ^.^
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Old May 17th, 2017, 09:19 PM   #12
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Default Re: Anxiety over trying out for drum major

Sorry for all the extra updates, this is mostly for my own sanity 😂

We had practice today, and I did pretty well with commands. I tried extra hard to make sure my voice carried well despite my sore throat, and it worked very well. That was probably the best I've done on commands so far
Afterwards, the other DM candidate (my best friend) came up to me and seemed pretty worried. He asked me that whatever happens with this audition, that there would be no hard feelings. No grudges, no passive aggressiveness, no tension between us; that we would still be best friends. I almost laughed because it seemed so silly that he would think that! I told him that if we both get the position, fantastic. If he got it, I would still be so happy for him. Honestly, if only one of us is going to get the position, I hope it will be him. He's worked so hard and stressed so much about this; he really deserves it. He's so dedicated and it is so humbling to work with him ^.^
Auditions are tomorrow; wish us luck. We won't know the results of the auditions until Monday, so I will update you (again) then. Thank you for walking me through this, especially you Amethyst. You have no idea how much help you've been ❤️
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Old May 22nd, 2017, 07:51 PM   #13
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Sorry again.

I didn't make it.

That's okay though, I'm really happy that my friend got it ^.^ He deserves it so much more, and has worked so much harder than me. I even told my directors that when they gave me the news today. They praised me for being so gracious, and said that it was a really tough decision. They chose him over me because they think I should take another year to really come out of my shell a bit more, become an even more "out there" type of person. They want to give me some more time to grow before throwing me into the thick of it, so I'll be prepared when I hopefully try out again next year (I don't know if I will). Which I really appreciate. That's very thoughtful of them.
I didn't think I'd be very upset if I got bad news. I've always wanted him to get it over me, so I am very happy for him. And yet, when I walked out of the director's office, I started crying. Like, REALLY bad. I hid behind my hair the rest of the time, but I'm sure everyone knew. There was a trumpet player gawking at me the entire time, which made it even worse.
I'm not mad at my band directors. I'm not mad at my best friend. I'm not blaming anybody. I'm just mad at myself for not being ready. They told me, in a gentle way, that I'm simply too shy to be drum major. Which I had already determined. Yet, I thought I made a lot of progress in the last month or so. I was really starting to feel comfortable in my own skin, just from attending those practices. But, I guess it wasn't enough. And that's okay. I'm okay with that.
But I'm not okay with how I handled it. After class when I was putting my instrument away and fighting back the inevitable tears, my friend came over and said that when I was done, he needed to hug me. I tried to speak to him, but I couldn't do it. He gave me an awkward side hug, and I was screaming at myself to stop worrying everybody and making a scene. It's just a freaking audition, not the end of the world. But I couldn't stop crying. The tears would not stop, no matter how many times I told myself that everything was okay and that I was being foolish. I just couldn't stop. And he tried to help, he really did. He was so super sweet about it all, and I'm just so mad at myself for making him worry. I managed to calm down halfway through the next hour, and we met up again so we could walk out to the buses, like we always do. He started talking about it again, but I cut him off and said not to worry about it. I'm fine. It's just a stupid thing. I'll get over it. He protested, bidding me to talk to him whenever I need to. I got on the bus and just let it all out. I don't know if I've ever cried so hard. After we parted ways and I was alone, I literally started to hyperventilate. I could not breathe. It was so incredibly scary. I did my very best to keep it quiet on the bus so I wouldn't bother anyone. I don't know if I succeeded. My earbuds were in and my music was turned all the way up.
I got home, told my mom and said it was no big deal, then went into my room so I could be in peace. I just want to be alone. But everybody keeps saying that they're so proud of me, and that it was a hard thing to do, and there's always next year.
They keep making it worse. I just want to be by myself right now. But nobody seems to understand that.

I'll be okay. My band director said that if his daughter turns out to be like me, that's the highest hope he could have for her. And that it's the biggest compliment he could ever think to give. I just thought it was funny. Who would want their daughter to become an anxious, emotionally unstable attention seeker who hates herself, am I right?

Sorry, bad joke. Anyway, that's all I've got. Thanks for being there for me. I'm sorry if I've disappointed you. I'm just not cut out for this, I guess.
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Old May 24th, 2017, 09:49 AM   #14
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Default Re: Anxiety over trying out for drum major

Alright, not entirely relevant to the thread, but it's something that helped me a lot when i was struggling with social anxiety personally;

Stop apologizing, keep thanking people instead!
I found this comic a little while ago, it's made by Yao Xiao.

It helped me overcome part of my social anxiety and i noticed people were much warmer and happier around me once i followed its advice.. You're saying sorry a whole lot but you could be saying thank you instead
_______________________________________________________
More relevant to the thread, your friend seems very supportive. As he wanted you to do, talk to him when you need to. Other people in your surroundings can be very supportive too, especially mothers.

Just give it some time and talk to them whenever you're ready

who needs a signature with a name like this
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Old May 24th, 2017, 06:23 PM   #15
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Default Re: Anxiety over trying out for drum major

That's actually really good advice, thank you so much ❤️ I'll be reading this daily so I don't forget what I'm supposed to say. Thank you for taking the time to show me this ^.^ It's beautiful!
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Old May 24th, 2017, 06:38 PM   #16
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Default Re: Anxiety over trying out for drum major

There's so much I want to say that I'm not sure how to start this post. I'll start by saying that I'm proud of you for auditioning in the first place. Just because you weren't chosen doesn't mean your growth has gone unrecognized; I understand you wanting to be alone, but listen to the feedback you're being given and take it to heart. Tuck it away to reflect on in the future. I've been in the position of "you're not ready yet", and there are no guarantees this will be the last time you, or me, or anyone else is in that position too. We never stop growing and learning, and with effort we can only move forward and make progress. Would you rather go in knowing you aren't ready, or be patient and wait until you are? Don't let this crush the confidence you've built up; you are just as deserving as your friend.

You're also very lucky to have a supportive friend who doesn't compete with you for the sake of beating you. I have a friend who takes competition between us too seriously, and I wish it wasn't like that. It's not every day you have a friend like you have. I'm grateful there's not any tension because of the audition

I hope you can take away something positive from all of this. Please know that if you ever want to talk about this--or anything else--you can message me.

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