“Do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do…” A relative novice, I started to play my first musical instrument, an alto saxophone, during my sophomore year. Dr. Morrow, our band coordinator, ran a tight ship. Even during exam week, she refused to shorten our mandatory three-hour daily practices. "Band is important, Carly. You can’t excel without practice…” I was touched by her faith in me as a musician, and I learned to better coordinate my multiple responsibilities. When I completed my first performance, our successful Christmas concert, I was honored to be part of such a talented, professional group.
Our performance won first place in the statewide 2001 Christmas band competition. Every moment of the night was magical. With my music in front of me and my Selmer gold-lacquered saxophone around my neck, I waited for the signal to start. “1-2-3-4, 2-2-3-4, 3-2-3-4…” After 5 rests, I began my part in “Serendipity 2001”, completely oblivious to the audience. Lost in the music, I was no longer nervous about being observed. I drifted into an atmosphere of fantasy, inspired by the beautiful melodies that we composed. After 5 minutes, I moved on to my second piece, “Falsetto Moss”… Some say that I am destined to play an instrument, as musical aptitude correlates strongly with my additional skills in the sciences and foreign languages. Although flattering, this theory neglects the tremendous commitment of time and energy to become a talented musician. Yet I eagerly embraced the challenge, learning to read music and to master my hand/eye coordination. I developed the discipline to repeat the same piece over and over, regardless of my level of frustration. Over time, I came to appreciate the synergy of the band, in which the collective energy of our group raised our own individual efforts.
I also fell in love with my sax for its therapeutic effect. Whenever I am stressed out, I get immediate relief by playing. Perhaps this is what inspires the world's great musicians: their ability to use their talent to inspire a listener's mood, to invoke a precious memory or to generate an invigorating dance beat. As a budding musician, I share in that magic and yearn to explore its power. Wherever my future leads, I will take my love of music: to the Yale band, an all-girls jazz group, or maybe as part of a large orchestra. Thanks to the inspiration of Dr. Morrow, I am determined to follow my muse and enjoy its myriad benefits.