So, basically every semester, I go through a phase where I think a lot about the degree I’m pursuing and what sort of career I want and other sorts of future-y things like that. It can last a matter of a few hours, a couple days, a week, or sometimes a month. And it’s stressful. While I’m a pretty flexible person, I do like certainty and at least a little bit of structure. Who doesn’t? I have yet to be fully convinced that I’m on the right path, but everyone always tells me that I have plenty of time. All I can say is that I certainly hope so.
Ok. *cutting off the sad violin in the background*
What I’m trying to get at, is that despite the uncertainty that my future currently holds, the good news is that I do have at least one thing to hold on to.
As I mentioned in my first entry, I’ve been involved in music programs since fourth grade. It began when I took a couple years of piano lessons in elementary school. From there, my school district’s band program started in fifth grade, which is when I began playing the alto saxophone. Almost always first chair (I can brag), I stayed loyal to my alto all the way through high school, playing in concert band, jazz band, marching band, pit orchestra, and the occasional pep band. I even auditioned for All-State my senior year, as well as joined chorus (so that I didn’t have to take gym class). My sophomore year of high school, I picked up an instrument called the mellophone so I could participate in this ridiculous activity called drum corps, which I have been doing for six years now, and I will most definitely write about that at a later date. And oh yeah, I also tried learning bass guitar for a short-lived garage band project. It was…interesting. Either way. When I got to the University of Iowa, I played mellophone in the Hawkeye Marching Band for one year. Feeling a little burnt out from all of the marching, I decided to keep my academic playing to only concert band. The first semester of University Band, I tried playing French horn. We got along alright, but I just didn’t have the time to dedicate to such a challenging instrument. The three semesters after that, I played trumpet, realizing it was more similar to playing mellophone than the French horn was. (And as a former woodwind player, I now understand the trumpet player’s ego).
Phew. There it is. Just in case you had any doubts. Or something.
Ever since music became a persistent part of my life, it’s been impossible to put down. It’s like that Pringles slogan…“Once you pop, you just can’t stop.” In fact, I’m a bit behind in my coursework for my Communication Studies degree because I keep taking music classes despite the fact that I’ve completed the requirements for a minor in Music. I just can’t imagine going even one semester without doing something involving music.
I’ve gone so far as to voluntarily take music theory classes. When people who actually are music majors find out that I’m not, they always ask me why on earth I could possibly want to take music theory. Because I can. Because I think it’s interesting. Because it helps me more thoroughly understand something that I love. I enjoy learning about what makes music work. It’s like a creative, emotional puzzle. I do hate the sight-signing assignments, though. Those suck.
Music is just one of those things that once you make a point of including it in your life, it will always be there, it will always come back to you. It’s like that stalker-ish ex-boyfriend/girlfriend. But it’s the stalker-ish ex-boyfriend/girlfriend that you secretly enjoy having around…if that makes any sense whatsoever.
I’m trying my best to continue being involved in music, despite the fact that “practical” world things are constantly demanding my attention. I encourage you to do the same. Take some classes, listen to an old favorite album, attend a concert, take lessons, dig out that instrument you haven’t played in a few years (or more).
And don’t even try to say, Oh I haven’t played in so long. There’s no way I can now. Stop. Playing an instrument is a bit like riding a bike. You know that old guitar, collecting dust in the basement corner? Well, you might not be able to shred solos right away like you used to, but I bet you still remember how to strum some chords and play one or two of your favorite songs. Your fingers will recall Für Elise when you sit down at the piano. Pull out that trumpet or flute that’s been hiding under the bed – you can still read music.
And if you need any encouragement at all, this kid knows what’s up…
Thumbs up for rock n roll, man.
Thanks for reading today!
“Music washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life.” – Berthold Auerbach
How do you make music a part of your life? If it’s been pushed off to the side a bit, how do you plan to make it more of a priority again? Feel free to share how music makes your world go ‘round.