It’s pretty common for people to end up quitting something they love due to mental health reasons or just health reasons in general. I actually liked being in the band when I was in school. I got interested in music in the 4th grade when the fine arts teacher took us downtown to see the symphony and I liked it. The teacher showed us classical music and I found it neat. My music taste did change as I got older. I wanted to do the band. Unfortunately, the lessons were not during school hours. So I had to wait until Jr. High. At least I was closer to my Jr. High School and I can walk home or someone can meet me if I needed to stay after school.

I have a crippling fear of playing for people by myself. I even freaked out over section solos in the piece(s) that we played. There were times where my mom’s ex-boyfriend asked me to play for him and I said no because I was too afraid to do so. I feel my anxiety could have been a reason for this. I didn’t get diagnosed until I was about to graduate Jr. High/ freshman year of high school. The doctor I was seeing in the 8th grade left and I moved clinics when I was a freshman and both agreed I have anxiety. A lot of  people confuse anxiety like before a performance and generalized anxiety, meaning an anxiety disorder. I know when I was anxious before the wisdom teeth surgery the doctor asked ”if I had coffee.’
People told me I was bad because my nervousness caused me to miss some notes. Also, I was rusty since I didn’t practice for the summer when school was out. Yeah I know, it’s a sin in the music world. When I was in Jr. High, I practiced in my closet because I didn’t want anyone to hear me. I didn’t want the neighbors to hear me. I don’t know how they would have felt living next door to a musician. I lived in an apartment with thin walls. Sound travels. Explained my science. When I got to high school was my downfall. I saw that the high school band was the real deal. I was not prepared for this. Solos and auditions were my fears. We had to do auditions for chair placement once marching band ended. I was terrified at my audition and caused me to do badly when I could have done well if my nerves didn’t get in the way. I wanted to get into acting/voice over work but chair placement auditions freaked me out.
Participating in the Solo and Ensemble thing was required in high school, in Jr. High, it was optional and I didn’t participate. I had to do a solo during my sophomore year because no one wanted to be my partner.  I was so terrified of doing a solo. I had no other option since everyone else was already grouped up. I couldn’t make it to the school where the contest was held, so I made it up with the teacher when he was available. At least the teacher wasn’t as harsh as a judge would be.

My Jr. year I did a duet with a girl I sat next to. I BOMBED IT. My heart was racing and I was shaking from being so nervous an anxious. I get it, anyone would get nervous before performing. My anxiety for performing was BAD. This is associated with ANXIETY DISORDER. I felt like I was going into a panic attack. I was SHAKING from the judge staring at my every move.

This is like a contest but for musicians. If you’re a dancer and you partake in a dance contest where judges will rate your performance, think of the solo and ensemble like that. The director, the next day, when I went to hang out in the band room during lunch, was brutally honest and told me the judge said I did terribly. I tried explaining the crippling anxiety I had (sometimes anxiety will override logic) but the director would not understand. This is the same guy who thought screaming at me for struggling would ‘help.’ I feel no one will ever understand anxiety if they have never faced it. I took the harsh feedback to heart and decided to quit the band to avoid solo and ensemble. Originally I was going to quit band but still do the flag girls team then my mom told me not to sign up at all. (the real reason was my mom could not afford to give me cab fair to rehearsal but I could have stayed after school.) Before you pull the I can’t take criticism card, telling someone they are bad isn’t constructive feedback. If the judge had of made notes on what I need to practice (they did actually) ( eg practice your timing), and the director said hey let’s work on what the judges pointed out, that would have been constructive criticism. People have the misconception on what criticism is.

I took a guitar glass my Sr. year and the teacher would teach us a song and we have to play it for him. Yeah, I was scared to death of that, too. I ended up having to do the test 2 or 3 times due to my crippling anxiety. 
I always wanted to get into acting/voice over work. If these things caused my crippling anxiety the auditions would have the same result. Unless I request one-way glass in the voice booth. If I know the director can’t see me but can hear me, my anxiety won’t as bad. Maybe…

Them staring at me is what causes the anxiety. I mean what really causes it. What if they can’t see me but can hear me? 

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