Monday, September 9, 2013
Like Calculus, With Sound
The semester started a couple of weeks ago, and once again, I'm back at it. I'm sure I've already mentioned this - but for the sake of the post, I'll repeat that I'm a double major, pursuing both a degree in Music Education and English w/ an emphasis on Creative Writing.
A little pet peeve of mine: When someone learns I'm studying music and they say, "Oh, that's nice", complete with synchronized nod of the head and half-smile. Like they're saying "Oh, that's not hard at all", like they're poo-pooing it.
I asked a few non-music majors what they thought music majors did. The most common responses I received were "learn to play an instrument" or "learn to sing". Well, sort of. However, the performance and pedagogy aspect are only a small aspect.
Pursuing both fields at the same time, I can tell you with 100% certainty, that pursuing a degree in music is waaaaaaaay harder than my English degree, AND there are about twice as many classes to take, as well as tons more out-of-class work required.
Studying music is extremely rigorous. Did you know that prestigious law schools love music students? It shows the student is dedicated and a hard worker.
The thing I least enjoy (and usually what makes or breaks the music major) is THEORY! Blah. But, I get it; one must understand the rules before he/she can successfully break the rules. To give you an idea of how difficult theory is...
... yeah, it's like calculus, but with sound - and that's just from semester 1.
I still remember my first day of Theory I. There were about 30 students crammed into a little space. Standing room only. Day 2, there were half. I counted. Half the students had dropped after taking one look at the syllabus. Guess, they figured out it was more than learning Do-Re-Mi. By week 2, there were 10 of us, and by the drop-deadline, there were 7.
Fast forward to Theory II. We started with those same 7 and ended with 7. Theory III, only 5 of us showed up. Turns out, 2 of the ones that finished Theory II didn't get the required grade to move on and had to repeat. Fast forward again to Theory IV. There were 3. 2 of us graduated in May with our Associates, and 1 (me), with honors. This is tough stuff!
I will say, there were nights I cried over theory homework.
Each time I pass a music class, I feel validated and I know that there is a reason I am doing this.
Because I am pursuing a Bachelor's of Music Education, I have an additional 13 or so classes more than the traditional music student.
Luckily, for me, I figured out a long time ago (through subbing) that I LOVE teaching, and I especially love conducting choir. I also found that I love learning. Some days I get ahead of myself and begin to contemplate possible dissertations for my Ph.D.!!! Whoa, Nellie! Simmer down now. It's going to be a while just to complete my Bachelor's!
So remember, the next time someone tells you they're going into music (and if you can't talk them out of it), don't poo-poo them. Think: "Calculus, with sound" and then offer them your condolences along with your encouragement. :)