I began taking flute lessons when I was in seventh grade, by the recommendation of one of my middle school band directors. He was always very supportive, and told me it would be great for me. I was very excited to start taking lessons, and practiced more than I ever have before.
I loved my new flute teacher. She acted not only as an inspiration for me musically, but she was a great role model. I could talk to her about anything, and we always made time before or after the lesson to talk about things that were going on with both of us. I started progressing with the flute and loved every minute of my playing.
One year later, I decided to audition for Region Band. When I told the band director that suggested I take lessons, he was very excited, and told me I would do well. However, when I told the band director that lead the wind ensemble and gave me in-school lessons, he told me I should audition, not because I could make it, but because I needed to get used to failure as a musician.
This statement upset me more than he could know, even to this day. I became very frustrated, and couldn’t understand why he would ever say something like that to me. Instead of letting it upset me, I continued to practice hard, and I made Region Band that year. I also made Region Band and All-State Band in High-School, went to college for music education, and even studied flute performance in Boston with a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for one year after college. I would love to go back to my band director and say, “Look what I did.”
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you cannot do something. If you want something, whether it be to learn an instrument, perform on stage, learn a new language, or become a doctor, don’t let anyone stop you from that dream. It is up to you to make it happen. Work hard, practice, do what you love every single day… and never give up on your dreams.
Kate Alusik, Flute Instructor at Hunterdon Academy of the Arts