I'll apologise in advance if this comes off as a rant. My thoughts are so jumbled right now I don't know where to begin.
This evening, after band practice, I was approached by my director of music. She said many things to me that were heartbreaking, confidence crushing and mind boggling. She told be that she thought a young man who has been "playing" the flute for three years (i.e. holding it and playing some notes) had better tuning than I. She went on to point out that three flutes were better in tune. I didn't even know if I was included in that number as she was very ambiguous. I asked outright if I was and she said that John was the worst in tune of us all, and can't hear it as well. She told me that other band members were pissed off at the back talk from the flute section. But she only talked to me, so I am left to presume that it is only I who does not fix the problem, but make excuses all the time. She wouldn't be talking to me as a section leader, because she crushed that too, saying I didn't play well enough to make others want to follow my example.
In response I let everything I had been holding in off my chest. Like I didn't think that it was fair that someone who plays at a middle school level is allowed in the band, and on strength with no training no less. That I wanted nothing more than to be on my BMQ and at the school of music in the summer, achieving my levels on flute. That if she was concerned about tuning four flutes, she was actually having to tune five as the oboe player often plays oboe parts up the octave on flute. That it is unnerving to be made fun of all the time by other sections, when no one is perfect. To this she responded, "yes but the flutes are the worst of the lot." I stated my case that I was trying my best to improve, by practicing with a tuner and always striving for my best. I said that I could only speak for myself when I said that I would do as she asks and not give excuses and fix the problem.
She then re-iterated that it was causing her stress to have to continually "take it" when the flutes gave excuses instead of fixing the problem. I asked her what she would like to do as a solution. She asked if she should get someone else in for me to look up to. She ended the conversation by stating that the flutes needed to just listen and then fix the problem. She went upstairs, and I left the armoury and promtly burst into stomach heaving sobs.
I am now numb, as I am not really processing this very well at all. I have so many questions. Who are these other members of the band who are saying that the flutes back talk? How can I be praised for nice tone and playing ability by Gino, Bill and Karen and then told how badly I suck at QOR? How is it that an 18 year old violin player is somehow taking my place? Or maybe sharing it with a stuck up oboe player? When do I talk back to the Director of Music? Do I make excuses for my mistakes and not notice that I am doing so? Do I have an inflated sense of my playing ability? Am I crazy to think that I have improved even a little? I just don't know anymore. What I do know is that the way I feel, I don't really want to play anymore. I definitely don't see the point in doing the recording, as she is just going to replace me anyway. I will go back to my usual appointed role as second flute, only I'll be playing the part with three others, four if you count the oboe player who barely plays oboe.
But mostly, I feel sad. Eleven years of your life is a long time to commit to something, especially when you started when you were 19 years old. So there you have it.