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This I Believe: I Believe in Big Mouths and Small Mouthpieces

Angel Trader - Litchfield High School
Beatrice Bonner
NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS
Angel Trader - Litchfield High School

As I blew air through the tiny mouthpiece of my trumpet, the sounds coming out just weren’t correct. I was frustrated, I was ready to give up. All my fellow trumpet players were already hitting notes an octave higher than the note I was struggling with.

My band teacher could see all the built-up frustration I had. She then pulled out a new instrument I had never seen before. What could it be? My band teacher took the trumpet and offered me this new instrument to try. “The baritone,” she called it. “It has a bigger mouthpiece. I think your mouth is too big for the tiny mouthpiece that comes with the trumpet.” I was embarrassed, but now I realize this choice I made in the sixth grade was the best decision of my music career.

Music, for me, is an escape from reality. I can express myself through what I’m listening to, what and how I’m playing music, or what I have chosen to sing that day. It’s a form of therapy that I have created for myself that is easily accessible. I have created friendships with people through band, choir, and even just sharing a common love for music or a certain music genre. When I am stressing out about a school assignment or a math test, I put in my earbuds and lose myself to my newest favorite song as I write or study.

All this love came from the day I started playing the baritone. I have never been prouder to show off something new I’ve learned. As music became a more active part of my life, I realized that it was a love I wanted to share with other people. I serve as my marching band's drum major and share the love with my fellow band members as we learn a new drill. I am also able to share the love with the audience at football games as we perform our newest halftime show and with all the parents of our band members as they listen to our concert. I am honored to be a part of my school’s Chamber Choir – an audition choir – where all our members share a common love for music. I can express these loves every day, in so many different settings, and I have found true happiness through this.

I have even decided to further share my love and study music. Music therapy is a form of interactive therapy that uses music to help the brain; this is what I have chosen to study in college. This way I can help others while also showing them how music can change lives. Music has changed my life for the better. It helped me find a healthy stress reliever and true happiness. I have now been in band for seven years and choir for six years. I couldn’t imagine my life without music now. I believe in big mouths and small mouthpieces.

This I Believe Illinois is NPR Illinois' annual essay program for Illinois high school seniors. An expression of where their minds are as they prepare to enter the adult world. This I Believe was started by radio journalist Edward R. Murrow in 1951 to allow anyone able to distil the guiding principles by which they lived. Special thank you to our sponsors: The Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise, BLH Computers, Illinois Times, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and Mary Beth & Harvey M. Stephens.

2023 This I Believe Essayist.
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