Like running marathons, taking orchestral auditions isn’t for everyone. There are some people who go into music, through conservatory, grad school, maybe even the beginnings of a professional career—who eventually find that they can live without it. Lots, in fact. And that’s a good, even inevitable thing. Music is a challenging life. It’s harder than I knew when I chose it, and I grew up on the inside, in a musical family. But for me, well, it’s pretty clear. I can’t stay away.

Read more: Learning to Love Audition Prep