I knew music would be a big part of my life pretty much as soon as I started learning an instrument. When I was in fourth grade, I started out on the oboe in my school band program, and I spent a year learning it before switching to the flute. This actually helped me excel in flute early on; I already knew how to read music, so it was simply a matter of learning the instrument itself.
Band always felt like home to me. It was where I made friends who understood me and respected me, and where I felt like I could shine. Being principal of my section taught me how to be a kind, empathetic leader and it showed me the value of helping others be their best rather than trying to keep them down to make yourself look better. I don't use a lot of the things I learned in school, but I do use the interpersonal skills that band taught me on a daily basis.
School band and private lessons continued to provide me a nourishing safe haven throughout middle and high school, and I couldn't imagine giving that up once I went to college. In my junior year of high school, I realized I wanted to make music my life and that I had to at least give it a shot. I really couldn't think of a single other thing I could major in that would provide the same level of fulfillment. I could have chosen a more lucrative field that I didn't care as much about, but that just seemed like a cop-out.
I auditioned for undergrad music programs because I had to. I just had to. I had no idea where it would lead, and I was fully aware that it wasn't a field that would lead to a ton of money, but I didn't care. I had to do it, because if I didn't, I wouldn't be me anymore.
So if you're considering music school, ask yourself if you want it that badly. Because it has to be something you absolutely need. This career path is incredibly difficult and sometimes feels impossible, so if music doesn't nourish you on a deep level, it's not the right call.