Sitting in Burger King surrounded by dozens of people wearing paper crowns that were given to them by the restaurant is not the only funny memory that senior Nevada Inman has from her time in band -- but it is one of her favorites.

Inman loves music, specifically playing the trumpet. She finds so much joy in it that her future plans are to major in Trumpet Performance with a minor in Jazz Studies at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, Bloomington. Inman finds music to be a way for her to express her feelings without having to use words. “I really like the creativity and how I can express myself without having to say or having to make that a physical trait,” she said. 

Inman got into music as an escape from her everyday life. She was struggling with mental health, and after she began to play her trumpet and realized how much it meant to her in freshman year, she decided she wanted to turn her hobby into a lifestyle. “I realized I’m pretty good at this, as long as I keep practicing and I keep playing,” she said. “So I got more restrictive and focused on actually forming a career out of it.”

But actually accomplishing what Inman set out to do is not an easy task. To keep up with her plans of becoming a professional musician, Inman holds herself to a high standard with a very rigorous practice regimen. She begins practice before the first school bell chimes, finding time to practice from 7:30 a.m. until the end of the first period at 9:00 a.m. Then during her band class, most days she also takes time to practice on her own while her classmates work on their music together. Once school is over, she then practices for two more hours, and sometimes more on top of that when she has her private lessons. Her practice time totals about 28 hours a week.

With all of this hard work toward her skill, it can be easy to get burnt out. Inman admits that although she loves performing music, it can be overwhelming. “I think it’s made me less stressed about other things,” she said. “But sometimes I think it can be my main stressor.”

However, for Inman, the feelings of stress can also be a sign of success. “Music has shown me that hard work can pay off and just constant practice will get you there,” said Inman. Although everything has its ups and downs, over time, music has begun to feel like there is less freedom and more requirement for Inman -- but she has found ways to cope. ”It’s become much less of an escape and sometimes it feels like a chore, but I always tried to go back to where it was like a happy place,” she said. 

One of the things that makes Inman excited about her future in music is the hope of participating in Drum Corps International. This is a program for students all over the world who, after auditioning and being accepted, spend their summer learning a marching band show. They have to pass many different forms of auditions, including dance, performance of their instrumen and a physical exam. The program ends in early August, right here in Indiana. Students perform the show that they learn all summer with the hopes of making it to the final competition. “If you’re good enough, you go to downtown Indianapolis and you participate in the World Finals,” said Inman. 

Outside of music, Inman takes solace in a lot of other hobbies, including oil painting, photography, rock climbing and skateboarding. Inman finds herself always exploring a way to be creative, even away from her trumpet. “I would say I’m pretty artistic,” she said. “The hobbies that I do, even if they are physical, are very creative.”

Pursuing music is not an easy task, and Inman knows that very well. She offers up this advice to other students who may be interested in what she is planning to do or are in the same position as her. “There’s no shame in taking a break [from music] to focus on other hobbies you have because it can become really overwhelming really quickly,” she said. “Don’t lose your love for the music and if you feel bad, take a break.”

Story by Reagan Zmijewski