written by Courtney Segool
I believe that everyone has callings, deep desires ablaze in their hearts that urge them to find these roles they are meant to play in life. The callings one has often embellish one’s talents and aid in finding someone’s passions. These passions and talents that lead to one’s callings are often best exposed by the help of others. As I was growing up, I had great mentors who helped me to fully understand what my passions and talents are. These individuals encouraged me on my quest to find my talents and prompted me to never give up, even when the quest seemed impossible. My mentors allowed me to find the passion I have for music and my calling to be a Speech Pathologist.
I cannot pinpoint an exact date that my passion for music arose, I believe this is because it has been there all along, but certain events in my life helped me discover this talent. One of my earliest childhood memories was attending a high school band show. I remember watching the band march across the football field while playing fun tunes and thinking that was exactly what I wanted to do when I was old enough. When the time to enter middle school came around, I insisted that I wanted to a part of the middle school band. I decided to follow my father’s footsteps and play the saxophone. The early years of learning saxophone were trying, as they required lots of dedication and practice, but my father encouraged me to continue practicing and working hard in claims that it would pay off. After four years of learning the basics of saxophone and reading music, I was finally advanced to the step I had been waiting for; marching band. When I entered marching band as a freshman in high school, I had no clue what to expect. The beginning days of marching band consisted of hot days in the summer sun, repeating drills for what felt like hours, and playing my instrument so much that it felt like my mouth might fall off. After these intense practices my new band director, Mr. Ruggeri, would remind us to not give up and to keep working hard because it would pay off. My first performance on the football field with the crowds cheering after the band’s performance gave me a glimpse of the pay off that had been promised. The feeling was invigorating, to have worked so hard all summer and then perform a show that prompted a standing ovation from an entire football stadium, it felt amazing. Little did I know that this feeling of success was hardly the pay off that my father and band director were speaking of. I did not realize the true pay off that my experience playing saxophone and being in the marching band held until years later.
When I entered high school, on top on marching band, I wanted to continue to advance as much as I could as a musician, so I decided to join jazz band. Mr. Ruggeri welcomed me into his Jazz 2 class as the baritone saxophone player, but he assured me that this task would not be easy work. Up to this point, I had primarily only played alto saxophone and the size difference of the baritone proved to be a struggle. Mr. Ruggeri’s words that this would be challenging lived up to every potential. Jazz band was very difficult, and I often felt like I was just an out-of-place, timid freshman. There were many times when I wanted to quit and felt discouraged because I thought I would never be as good as the other musicians. Mr. Ruggeri encouraged me to keep practicing and working hard and he said that it would pay off. He believed that I had the potential and talent to succeed, even on the days when I wanted to quit. Mr. Ruggeri is well known around my town for the quality level his jazz bands perform at and he had every intention to live up to that standard. He challenged me and always reminded me of the importance of practice and working hard. Throughout my years of high school, I continued in jazz 2 and strived to be successful. By my senior year I was accepted in the top jazz group, Mr. Ruggeri’s excellent jazz 1. As I performed my first solo with this group, I reflected on the timid freshman I use to be, the one who nearly quit playing jazz, and realized that I was performing at a level that I had never thought would be possible. The standing ovations jazz one always received once again gave me that feeling of being accomplished and successful. As with marching band though, I learned later that this success was not even half of the pay off I had been promised. At this point, I was only months away from realizing what the true pay off was.