During the graduation ceremony at one of my schools, the principal handed out student awards ranging from “Highest Attendance” to “Best Group Leader”. As we clapped and cheered, I started to reminisce about my academic days. And that’s when “it” reared it’s ugly head again. I left primary school with a bitterness that still inanely lingers some sixteen years on; I never won the school’s “Music Award” during my six years there.
Now, I wasn’t the brightest student in my year or in my class. But I consistently got high grades, hardly missed a day of school and rarely got in trouble. I wasn’t fussed about not getting the History or Geography prize, it was the Music one that frustratingly evaded me every single year.
Funnily enough, I loved studying History and Geography. I still do. But I hated Music class with a passion. Simply put, it was f••king boring. We’d play recorders, practice singing and clap our hands to some droning beat. It wasn’t like I didn’t put in the effort. For all my moaning and complaints, I still tried my best or risked the wrath of my mother. So, why was the Music award so important to me?
It’s fair to say, that the award wasn’t based on one’s clapping ability in class. But rather their contribution to the school’s “music scene” A.K.A, the choir. I was forcefully made a member after we were unceremoniously “trialled” in the first grade. For six years, I spent my lunchtimes stuck singing in the sports hall instead of playing outside with my mates. If I skipped a practice to hang out with my friends, the choir teacher would hunt me down and drag me back.
Being the only male member of the choir in our year, I was involuntarily made the lead in the school’s production of “Oliver Twist”. And I was continuously forced to sing solo at a number of school events. I was also learning the violin after school and would be “asked” to play in front of the school. It’s fair to say that I worked my arse off whenever anything related to music came up. Yet, year after year I never won the bloody award. The annual school award ceremony would come, and I’d excitedly wait for my name to come. And then nothing.
To me, the Music award wasn’t something I aspired to win. It wasn’t my dream to receive the trophy in front of my peers. But by my fifth year, it had become a sort of formality that I thought would be naturally bestowed to me as a result of my commitment and effort. I vividly remember my shock and frustration after my sixth grade ceremony (my last chance) when I was yet again overlooked. Instead some twat from the fifth grade was awarded it.