Bear with me for a bit while I explain what it is that I do. As a musician in the military, I’m constantly competing against others. Yes, we’re a band. And yes we are working together to make beautiful music, which can only happen if our sounds mesh well together. Still, when we are trying to get work, like the 2.5 month summer contract, we are being graded against each other. This means that although we are friends most of the time, we are rivals when trying to get contracts. Big factors that affect our contracts are our merit, skill level as a musician, leadership potential, and QLs. QL’s stands for qualification level, and we get higher ones by doing military courses that centre around music.
There are 4 QLs, and they range from about high school level to 4th year university/master’s level difficulty. We need QLs for promotions, but a lot of people take harder courses so that they can be seen as better musicians when trying to get contracts, and one QL level can mean the difference between 3 months of summer employment and zero. Once you reach the third QL, you can learn a new instrument, and they’ll pay you to learn it. I have the third level on sax, and the first level on bassoon. Yeah, they paid me to learn to play bassoon (well, I had played it in high school, but never thought I’d play it again).
Anyways, I was supposed to be leaving next Wednesday to do a 4 week course for level 2 on bassoon. I got a call the other day from one of my supervisors, and he told me there was a chance they might be able to get me to do level 4 on sax instead. Still, I don’t know if I’m ready. I don’t know if I’m good enough. And I don’t know if I’d be able to handle the disappointment if I don’t pass that course. Music has always been something that I’m good at. I’ve been playing piano since I was 5. Music is my stress reliever, my piano has always been my sanctuary.
[If anyone is curious, here’s a video of the piece I’m slaving away at trying to learn. She’s phenomenal. I won’t have piano accompaniment.]
Right now I’m just waiting for that call saying I’ll be doing the harder course. I’m terrified. I want this so bad. Not to be competitive, or to be better than everyone else. Not to have that level just because James does (that’s where I met him, he plays clarinet). No, I want to do this for me. I want to have a goal that I really need to work towards. Something I’d be willing to devote 4 straight weeks of my life towards attaining. And I want to know what it feels like to know that people understand how much music means to me, how much of myself I give in my music. Like my writing, music is a way of baring my soul.
I’m just worried I’ll put my all into it, and they’ll shun that piece of me that wants so badly to be heard.