Everyone has had a first experience in everything they do. The only issue is that most of us forget about those first times.
I made it a personal vow of mine to never forget my firsts and to use those experiences to help those coming after me on the same musical road. While you might assume that you'd learn everything you need to know about music from private lessons and music school, it's pretty surprising how unequipped we are when we're thrust into the real world of looking for a job or gig that will actually earn you a living.
I decided to get started on that journey while I was still in school and therefore expected to make mistakes, with the understanding that I was "just a college kid". If you're in college, take advantage of that attitude toward you. Once you graduate from your bachelor degree, all your actions will be judged not as the actions of an inexperienced young adult, but as an experienced working adult. The difference in attitude that your higher-ups and colleagues have toward your career from before and after your graduation day is HUGE.
Don't let that change in attitude take you by surprise; jump into new working experiences while you're still in school!
There really is no worse way to start off a rehearsal. With your heart metaphorically bleeding out on the ground.
The shame factor I mentioned in this video seems to be a "given" in the music world, and it's not really given much thought. But is it really a healthy way of seeing how we treat our instruments? Though I never became a professional flute technician myself, I've always had a keen interest in how flute maintenance and repair actually worked, so that I'd get a better idea of how to take care of my flute, do my best to prevent damage, and generally assess how bad any damage actually is on my flute.
Instead of wallowing in the shame, I think it's a lot more healthy and educational to learn about the "diagnoses" of your instrument damages and have a rough idea of how they're fixed. You are, after all, playing the instrument day in and day out. Why not learn more about it? It's almost like learning more about yourself.
Every flute specialist and technician has always said the same thing to me when I bring in a flute with a boo-boo:
So, guys, remember: It's not actually as big a deal as everyone makes it out to be.
Just us responding to your comments! I thought it was about time you guys heard more from my mom than just her confused grunts and bewildered facial expressions. She has many stories to tell, but she's kind of quiet, so I thought this would be the perfect way to get her to talk!
She really knows what it's like to have two children in the arts. My brother is an academia, and I am a musician. Not your typical Asian American careers, and for some reason, our parents are totally okay with it. They're even proud of us!
So thankful for my mom and everything she's done to get me where I am. :) I love you, Mom!
Trying flutes out in the presence of so many other flutists can feel really daunting. You feel like you can't get away with making mistakes because they'll know. Or, you find yourself shying away from trying flutes more thoroughly because that flutist behind you is belting out the Mozart Concerto in G like there's no tomorrow, and you just feel like a peon. Or, you quickly excuse yourself from booths when the vendor asks you how you like the flute you're trying because you're scared they'll ask you to play an excerpt you don't know.
But here's the thing: it's a totally different world on the other side of the booth! It was there that I found out that no one actually cares how you play! The vendors are there to help you find the best flute in their inventories that suit you the best, regardless of wrong notes and forgotten excerpts. Behind the booth, you notice that everyone is just in their own heads, cautiously looking around to see if anyone is judging them. Even the most skilled flutist in the room does this!
So why not just have some fun and play around? You paid for this experience, enjoy it to its fullest potential!
So when are you too sick to perform? This is a tricky question because it really depends on the individual. One person's limit is not equivalent to anyone else's limit, and it's unfair to compare yourself to another musician. You never really know what's going on in another person's body. Perhaps they bounce back from sicknesses faster than you, or maybe they have a pre-existing condition you don't know about (and maybe they'll never tell you about it).
Whenever this topic comes up among musicians, I notice that there tends to be a "one-upping" situation that results. One musician says they were coughing while performing their third-year recital. So their friend points out that they were playing a professional audition on a fever.
But as soon as you realize that you can't compare the limits of one body with another, you'll see that this kind of one-upping is completely meaningless. No two people are the same.