Observations on a Year

By Virginia

Illustration by Charlotte S
Illustration by Charlotte S

Music school always seemed odd to me. Could it really be possible to spend four years pursuing something I was actually passionate about? I always thought other college majors sounded so… not fun. I’m terribly sorry, but I don’t see the appeal of operating on brains or teaching children- cringe- math. When I was in eighth grade, I already knew I wanted to do the “music thing” in college, and when I was in tenth grade I decided that music therapy sounded like a nice path.

I survived my first year of music school. Half the time, I didn’t think I would make it, and the other half of the time, I couldn’t believe that I could call some of my daily activities “class”. I never expected to sing Puff the Magic Dragon in one class, and then do yoga poses in another class- both revolving around music. I don’t want to mislead you though- being any sort of music major is incredibly difficult. Yeah, I know, every major has its challenges. But once I finished my homework for all of my classes, I had to practice violin, or piano, or harp, or autoharp, or ukulele… Did I lose you yet? Oh, and then there’s music theory. The bane of my existence. If you made the mistake of paying a visit to my twitter during the past year, you probably saw me make some sarcastic comment about the dreaded hour and twenty minutes of music theory, looming over my head every Tuesday and Thursday. It’s not that I had great expectations (there, I used it) of music theory, I didn’t have any expectations at all- I had never even touched the subject. While the first semester wasn’t so bad, the second semester was beyond painful. Alas, I have found something that I can relate to all college majors- if you think you are working hard now, college will be even more challenging, but you will survive. Maybe it was my cynical sense of humor, but I kept at it and just barely passed that second semester of theory.

I promise we have fun at music school. I did not expect to find such fun people in the music building. People tell us to “get out more”, but it’s a little hard to pull yourself away from the building when there is a Killer Karaoke viewing party in the lounge. To my surprise, I found people who shared my passion for odd rap groups, really cool bands (who are even kind enough to let me sit in on their practices), and even people willing to watch/discuss/relive our mutual obsession with Chicken Run. I guess my thoughts are sort of all over the place here, but what I’m getting at is that a group of people can really surprise you. When I started my adventure with the “music thing”, I didn’t really know where it would take me. I look back on the past year, amazed and exhausted at all that took place. I am a better, more confident musician, and have a completely different perspective on music overall. All the twists and turns have been well worth it, and the classic expectation vs. reality analogy does tie in: the reality of music school was existentially better than I expected.

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