I remember the very first time I stepped on stage with my bass guitar. I was twelve, and had only been playing for about three months, and I could barely move because I was so nervous to mess up the four notes I had to play. The simple jeans and gray shirt I was wearing were chosen the day of, no thought going into it. I walked into Zydeco with my eyes glued to the ground, barely talking to my band. My nerves were going crazy, and my hands were visibly shaking. I asked so many questions on how to set my bass up when I finally got onto the stage, terrified to mess anything up. Two minutes after I stepped onto the stage we were playing, and my eyes were stuck to the neck of my bass. I only glanced up at all the parents sitting on the floor filming me and my three other band mates playing Maroon Five. I was so proud of myself after, for getting on the tiny stage in front of all those people.
My confidence began to grow when I performed in my first Battle of the Bands only two months later. I was on the Avondale Brewing Company stage playing Nirvana in front of family, friends, and judges. I jumped up and down, the biggest smile under my pink face mask. I was so giddy afterwards, telling my parents about all of my stage moves: I jumped up and down a few times, tapped my foot and nodded my head. I was so glad I had worn my pink leather jacket, since after we played the temperature dropped. I stayed to watch the headliner bands despite the cold weather, and was so fascinated with all the older bands. One band stood out to me in particular, a band made up of mostly seniors. The singer bounced around on the huge stage, the most gleeful look on her face at all times. The bass player had a huge head of hair, and you could barely see his face from all the head banging he was doing. It shocked me that he was able to play so well with barely looking at his bass, and I aspired to be like him.
I became even more confident on stage the next year when I got moved from the openers category to the headliners. I started to bob my head up and down, more and never lost my huge smile that was visible when I was able to take off my mask. I was so happy to be on stage and to be able to perform in front of family, friends and strangers. I was so excited to join a new band that played gigs over the summer, so there was less of a break between shows. I was having so much fun doing the thing I loved, and was able to share this with more and more people. I loved watching everyone’s smile widen when we began to play their favorite song, or when they began to clap their hands to the beat. I was so grateful to be able to bring this energy back to Rock Band League where it all started when the fall season began. I jumped up and down almost the entirety of the first show, so thrilled to be playing one of my favorite songs, Crazy Train. Our band was continuing to bond, and at the second show we coordinated wearing Buc-ee’s attire, taking a band trip to the gas station for the occasion. I never lost my spark that entire season, and I was so happy and confident on stage performing Just a Girl at Battle of the Bands.
The spring season brought a few changes to my band, but we continued playing some of my favorite songs at my favorite venues. Over the summer we even got to play two festivals, the Euphonious Festival and the Mason Music Fest. In the fall, I was so excited to get to play my favorite venue Iron City again for Battle of the Bands. That season was full of ups and downs, and at the last minute I had to sing at Battle of the Bands. While I was very confident playing bass on stage, singing was a different story. My whole life I had been so self conscious of my voice, and never wanted to sing in front of anyone. Just four months prior I had started taking voice lessons, and didn’t even sing in front of my teacher. Every time I drove to take my lesson, I would hold back tears thinking I wasn’t good enough. However, as soon as we needed a singer I leaped at the opportunity. I wanted to prove to everyone that I could do it, but most of all I wanted to prove it to myself. As soon as I started singing All Along the Watchtower on stage, my life was changed. I almost cried tears of joy when we finished, on such a high from what I had just done. My happiness radiated off the stage for the first time in so long, and I was truly at my best.
I feel that every musician has that moment on stage, a moment where all their hard work finally comes together. Whenever I watch young musicians performing for the first time, I always think of myself during my first season. They are nervous, but a hint of glee always seeps through. I always love watching them grow as musicians, and for them to really find themselves and what they are meant to do in music. I hope that I inspire people to be more confident, and to never let fears stop you from doing something you want to do. My life has completely changed since I stepped outside my comfort zone, in ways I didn’t know possible. Now I am thriving in both music and my personal life, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunities Rock Band League has given me.
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A note from the editor: This blog is written by one of our very own Mason Music Students, Marielle Vientos. We are honored to share her words and experiences and highlight what a talented musician and writer she is. If you have a music-related story or experience to share on the Mason Music blog, email us at email@example.com. I hope you enjoyed reading Marielle’s blog as much as we have! – Laine White, Marketing Director.