Why were you inspired to do this?
I think there were a lot of reasons. But for many reasons during that period of my life, I felt driven to do something big and concrete with my flute playing, and to feel successful with it.
What were 3 things you did to make this happen?
I took lessons from a private flute instructor in addition to my band teacher provided by my high school.
I made the time and the arrangements to practice daily no matter where I went or what I was doing: I practiced "The Swiss Shepherd" while doing a summer study abroad in Japan, and I took my flute on my family's trip to Switzerland (much to their sadness--though the piece was strangely appropriate!) when my grandparents held an anniversary gathering the week before my auditions so that I could practice in the hotel and keep everything fresh.
I forced myself not to give up even when things went wrong. When it turned out my family would require me to be out of the country during the audition date, my band teacher and I worked together to figure out how I could get to an alternate date/location meant for another school and audition that day instead, after my return to the US. When I got to that audition and the judge told me another flutist had auditioned on the same piece earlier and nailed it, I sucked it up and did the best I could anyway even though that was almost designed to make me flip out.
How did you feel once you had accomplished this?
I felt excited and proud. And it brought good things to my life: a week of high-level musical work, a week of fun with friends, and an exhibition solo in the final band concert of my senior year ("The Merchant of Venice"). That was terrifying but exhilarating. I spent so much time doing frustrating, repetitive work, but I think I proved that hard work pays off even for those with maybe less inborn talent, and I also felt more tied to my musical friends and community for the experience, like I'd earned right of passage into a group and I was a part of that group. I still have the CD over a decade later, and it is a lifelong memory.
Additional notes and tips:
(This date is approximate; our official CD describes our performance as "August, 1998," and I believe there was a reprise performance in February of 1999 as well.)