I’ve been singing in the choir my whole life, and I can learn new songs pretty quickly just by listening. After humming along a few times, I’ve got it down, no problem. The choir director usually has me help other choir members learn new songs because I’m such a fast learner! But this year I was moved into the honors chorus, and the songs are a lot harder. No matter how many times I listened, I kept making mistakes. It seemed like everyone else learned them so easily, I got really frustrated. My thoughts started telling me that I wasn’t good enough. I felt overwhelmed. Was I even a good musician if I was having such a hard time learning these songs?
When the director assigned me a solo, I was so excited and so nervous. I listened to my part over and over again—in the car, when I walked my dog Koko, and before I fell asleep. But when I sang it in rehearsal, I was out of tune. I was so embarrassed and disappointed, I wanted to pretend I was sick so I didn’t have to be responsible for messing up. But I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. It was up to me to get this solo right, so I asked my choir director for extra help.
We sat together on the piano bench, and he played slowly, each note one by one.
“Be bold!” he’d say when I was unsure of myself. “Make your mistakes loudly! You can’t learn it if you don’t sing it out!”
I didn’t want to hear my mistakes at all! Every time I heard myself sing a wrong note, I felt overwhelmed by the thought that I wasn’t good enough. But I didn’t quit, I’d take a breath and try again. And after a lot of rehearsing, making mistakes didn’t sting as much. I could see how to fix them. My overwhelming thoughts got quieter, and I started feeling confident again.
I love being good at whatever I’m doing, and my frustrations can take over when I don’t get it right immediately. I had to use my SEL skills to practice self-control and manage my big thoughts and feelings. I also had to practice taking responsibility for not knowing my music as well as I wanted to rather than making an excuse to avoid feeling embarrassed. It wasn’t easy, but working through my emotions while I learned this solo showed me what I can do when I take a breath and keep trying. I’m a stronger musician now! And even when I’m taking on challenges that require SEL in areas where I am still growing, like responsibility and self-control, I know that I am in control of my thoughts and that I have what it takes to succeed. Check out my fun tips for practicing self-control and responsibility!
Doba’s Fun Tips!
-Take a big breath! Seriously, it really helps.
-Remember that my thoughts aren’t facts! Just because I felt like I wasn’t good enough, didn’t mean it was true.
-Change your mind! Once I told myself I could do it, singing started to feel fun again.
-Don’t make excuses. If I hadn’t been responsible for my solo, I might not ever have shown myself what I could do!
-Trust your emotions. The big ones I was feeling, like anger and anticipation, were letting me know I just needed to work a little harder.
-Believe you can persevere. Believing in myself was the hardest part, but I did it and you can too!