This is a long first post, but I believe that you are the sum of the things that happen to you or happen because of you. Here is a "brief" description of my life path thus far. It's casual, honest, a little self-deprecating, appreciative, and honest -yep, I said honest twice & you'll see why.
I grew up in Waverly, Ohio, a small town with no more than 5,000 people and about an hour-ish south of Columbus. My parents divorced when I was 3 or 4; I don't have much memory of that specific time in my life aside from standing in the back of my dad's truck being really excited to go see my grandma. My mom and I lived with my grandma while I was in grade school. I attended a public school and had no problem making friends (at least I think so). I was introduced to music in 2nd grade when I started taking lessons with a local piano teacher, Ms. Amlin. My grandma had enrolled me with Ms. Amlin because she had taught my mom and aunt piano when they were in grade school. The family legacy lived on in me until 4th grade. It wasn't a secret to my music teachers that I took piano lessons and so they asked me to play for my peers. I did, willingly, and then everyone in my class made fun of me. During class, at recess, I was heckled almost every day about "being such a nerd" and "nobody does that for fun." I stopped taking lessons the following week. I told my grandma that I hated piano, that I hated music. It wasn't true, but I was so heartbroken and couldn't talk to my friends at school that 10-year-old Me thought that choice was the right thing to do.
Fast forward to 5th grade: My mom took me to an instrument try-out night for band. I fought her SO hard about going. I did NOT want to join band because "I wanted to have friends." A child's mind is so malleable at that age and, for me, I could not be swayed. The band director saw my mom and time-traveled back to when my mom was in high school band playing percussion - we'll say 10 years for good measure. (You're welcome, mom) My mom sat in my trial with me and she reeeeeeeally wanted me to play clarinet. It was easy but I didn't like the sound I made. I tried trumpet, trombone, saxophone, clarinet, and flute, your typical beginning instrument combination. Flute was the last thing I tried. I instantly fell in love and it was easy for me to make a sound, contrary to what the director had told me. He was surprised at the response I got as well as the tone. That was all it took for me: I was going to be a flute player.
Side note: My family is very much part of the working class. We work hard for the things we have, things we want, and long-term goals don't hold too much importance. I think it is absolutely imperative to give a slight mention about how unimportant long-term goals seemed to me because my family I went to work, came home, and didn't do whole lot of anything: rarely any traveling, no experiencing the world, barely any road trips. This lack of productivity and experience ultimately shaped the way I would think about and value my education.
I excelled in band; it was my home. I was one of the top kids in band at Waverly. I transferred to Chillicothe City Schools after 7th grade because of other bullying and the fact my mom met a guy and we moved in with him. Their band program was amazing and I didn't regress in terms of playing. I joined marching band, jazz band, concert band, and orchestra. Between those ensembles, I played flute, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, and a little bit of piccolo. Chillicothe also had really great honors/AP classes there. I took AP Bio, AP Psych, and more. Honestly I thought I wanted to be a pediatrician until my last year of high school. I had three band directors during my four years at CHS and the director my senior year became a huge influence on me. I was the saxophone section leader for marching band that year and so I was able to see how good he was at his job. I changed my mind in October (prime audition prep season), took about 10 private flute lessons for the first time ever, and auditioned for colleges in my hopes to become a music educator.
Out of the 4 schools at which I auditioned, Marietta College had the best financial aid and strictly guided how I made my decision. I did not get a trial lesson with my flute teacher and she was not there at my audition... The instrumental chair and piano professor said she was busy, but little did I know how busy she was indeed. I went to college and had my first lesson and my life literally changed in one hour. Lindsey Goodman proved to me that I had made the right choice. I emailed her my sophomore year, fall semester, and told her I was interested in going to graduate school for performance... I'll write more about that later.
As always, college was a learning experience. I really didn't have any competition and was Principal Flute/Picc every semester. I didn't practice as often as I needed. My rep got harder. My classes got harder. I slacked off on my homework. I even lost my scholarship because I was under a 3.0 cumulative GPA. I didn't know how to apply everything I had in me because high school was easy. I was academically prepared - I could do the work - but not mentally prepared. I wasn't motivating myself. I didn't care. Losing my scholarship kicked my butt into high gear. The following semester (junior year, fall semester) was when I won the jury prize, got free lessons because of it, regained my scholarship, and truly learned how to apply myself. **Special thanks to Marshall Kimball for giving me an hour every Friday to kick my butt and make me get my mind on track - you are invaluable.** Granted I was 2 years too late, I learned my lesson and was ready to move forward.
I performed my senior recital and probably picked repertoire that was way above my head, but I DID IT. I had applied myself. I didn't give up. I showed myself that I was capable. that I was worth someone's time. that I was worth MY OWN time. I let myself slide on most things ("eh, that sounds good enough" was a common phrase in my head- Sorry, Lindsey) but I was proud of myself for even trying to succeed because applying myself less than 2 years ago was hard. work. I'm in graduate school now on a full scholarship thanks to Lindsey Goodman, Marshall Kimball, and the mystical music gods of Youngstown State University (AKA Dean Phyllis Paul and faculty). I study with Dr. Kathryn Umble who encourages me to work hard and love music harder. I just bought a piccolo and flute, I met the love of my life, I got a cat, and now, I cannot see my future without music. Even though I haven't ever enrolled in a flute performance competition, an orchestral masterclass competition, a young artist competition, etc, it does not mean I am less of a flutist or musician than the next person.
My goal here is to not only allow people to understand my background, but to allow and encourage myself to stop making excuses, keep myself accountable, and KEEP. GOING. I truly believe that my struggles with motivation, accountability, and confidence make me a better person and will help me as a begin my career in education after graduate school. I promise you that if you believe the people who love you when they say "you can do it" or "you are worth my time," they mean it. You should surround yourself with people who love and believe in you - if the people near you don't love or believe in you, you need a new circle. #realtalk
Thanks for reading - let me know if you struggle or have struggled with similar issues and how you overcame them. We are stronger when we share.
Hey there! I'm Morgan, a flutist and educator, who is ready to help beginning and intermediate flute students of all ages CRUSH their performance anxiety and reach their musical goals!