Over the summers of 2009 and 2010, I traveled across the United States of America to play cymbals in a professional drum and bugle corps. During those months, I learned a ten minute musical performance that demanded every ounce of physical and mental strength to perform. Over the summer, despite having fun, I became physically and mentally stronger and more mature.
Each morning I woke up after a strictly regimented eight hours of sleep. I’d roll off of my air mattress and head to breakfast. After eating whatever was served to me, I would start stretching and exercising to get ready for the challenging day ahead of me. Most days consisted of a fourteen-hour rehearsal, with hour-long breaks for meals. I would sleep on the bus as we traveled across the United States. On days that the corps had performances, our rehearsal times were cut down to four hours. Every single night, I would get a break for showers. The showers were never the right temperature, and the water that sprayed out was forceful and painful. Then I would head back to my bed and sleep, anticipating the next day of activity.
The days seemed endless. Hours dragged on to become days and days streamed together to form weeks, and the exhaustion continued throughout. I stayed focused and dedicated. I wanted to be part of this group. I spent months practicing to audition into the corps, and now that I was part of the group I wasn’t going to give it up. My love for music was too powerful to be hindered by my physical and mental fatigue.
Over the course of the summer I watched as my strength grew. In the beginning of the season, the cymbals seemed heavy, and I was not experienced with them enough to avoid getting multiple cuts, scrapes and bruises. As time progressed, my arms grew stronger, and I was able to perform for long, extended periods of time without a break.
When the corps finished the last performance at Lucas Oil Stadium, I realized that I had changed. I could easily compare the person I used to be to the person I had become. I used to be the kind of person who lived in a false sense of maturity. I used to believe that I was more grown up than I actually was.
The summer changed me; evolved me into the person I am now. I have the mental strength to stay dedicated to something until I see the final result of its completion. I would never trade this experience for anything, as it has taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to. My summer with the corps has inspired me to pursue a career in music education. As an effort to better myself, I continually attend five music lessons per week, so that I can obtain my musical goals and inspire young musicians the way that I was inspired these past summers.
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