I have always been someone who loves music. I've been in school choirs since kindergarten, and when I was fifteen I started writing songs. Music (along with writing) is how I express myself and find ways to make the world a little clearer. However, I have found that although music is such a huge part of who I am, my low self-esteem tends to creep in quite often. I tend to be very self-conscious about my voice, but I wasn't always this way.
From kindergarten to eighth grade, I attended a very small private school with an average of twelve people in my class. Because of this, there wasn't much competition when it came to things like music and sports. I got used to not worrying about solo tryouts because it was always a given that I would be singing one. I left that school convinced that I had the most wonderful voice in the world (okay, not really, but I thought I was better than most).
For high school, I landed in an environment that was far more competitive. My class tripled in size, and the choir had about 90 more students than the one at my previous school. In this choir, solos automatically were chosen for students in the elite choir, which I was okay with. After all, I was new and wasn't exactly looking for more attention. The only problem I found with being part of a larger choir was that I sometimes caught myself comparing myself to other singers. I would think things like "Her voice is so much clearer than mine" or "I wish I could belt like she can." I dug myself into a hole of self-consciousness and only sang around a few select people, and even then it was extremely soft.
My Sophomore year, however, I was used to my new surroundings and felt better about my voice. This led to me deciding to try out for the elite choir. I didn't get in (which is a totally different story), and this took what small amount of confidence I had found again and squeezed it into a pulp. I spent the remainder of the year thinking "Maybe next year I'll try out again because _____ will have graduated" or "Maybe next year I'll audition for that solo because I'll be older and maybe that will help."
This year, I am once again at a new school, and the choir has over a hundred students. I didn't try out for their elite choir due to the confidence drop I felt last time, but I am still in choir. Yesterday (I'm writing this on a Friday), I went to a dress rehearsal for the Christmas concert tonight. There are four soloists- all with clear voices who can belt beautifully. As I was sitting listening to them last night, I couldn't help but think "What must it be like to not think 'maybe next year I'll try out because ___ will have graduated by then'?" It was a small thought, but it kept me thinking all through today.
I've said this before, but comparing yourself to other people is ridiculous for many reasons. I've come to learn that there is always going to be someone that is better than you. Do I sound like Lea Salonga? Of course not. The only person who sounds like Lea Salonga is Lea Salonga. But just because I don't sound like someone else, that doesn't mean I should put off auditioning for things. I have realized in the last year that some of the best things that I have happened to me happened because of a rejection from something else. I guess where I'm going with this is that although there will always be someone out there who is better than you, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. You never know what will happen, but nothing will happen if you don't do anything at all.