I knew that I wanted to become a music teacher when I was in the 9th grade. My ultimate motivate to study Music Ed was the fact that I would be able to learn “all” the instruments. I didn’t really think about the “education” part of the degree until I was considering different universities. But I soon realized that I did want to teach. I had found something that enriched my life so much, and I wanted to share it with others.
My high school history teacher was not happy about my choice to study music education. He told me to my face that I was “wasting my intelligence,” when I should study something much more suited to a top-graduating senior… something like medicine or law. “Why music?” was a question I received a lot in those years. My typical response was something along the lines of, “I want to teach music,” or, “I want to learn the instruments,” or, “Why not?”
Lately I’ve been thinking about my choice to study music. Of course I don’t regret it. I would do it all over again. But now that I have students of my own who are looking into colleges and future majors, I have to attend to that question yet again. “Why music?” Here is my answer.
It has taken me a very long time to understand my personality. And even now I’m not quite sure where I stand with myself.
Sometimes extroverted; sometimes introverted, depending on the people I’m with.
Often outgoing; occasionally shy.
Reliably even-keeled; rarely, but not never, moody.
Outwardly stoic and non-emotional; inwardly empathetic.
Poised and confident; situationally awkward.
I’m not mysterious, nor do I want to be. I convey my thoughts and emotions bluntly, with no pretense. Yet there are carefully guarded walls that few have, or ever shall, penetrate - feelings I share with no one. Yet feelings that will ever be with me, as clear and poignant as when they first took up residence in my heart.
I believe everyone has depths to their soul that “real life” cannot satisfy. Everyone needs an outlet with which to relieve the growing-pains of life. For some it is visual art, for others, theater, music, writing...
When I was younger I wanted to be a writer. I scribbled vague thoughts and “deep” metaphors, arranged them in haphazard fashion on scraps of paper and called it a poem. I needed my deeply-buried emotions to have an outlet to run free. But I was no poet, and my scribbles were not enough to satiate my need for expression.
I, like many artists, feel very deeply, whether or not I show it outwardly. So deeply that it often can’t be expressed. Or at least not by “normal” conventions. Music is the only medium that can touch the inner reachings of my soul and tap into emotions, feelings, and sentiments that would otherwise remain hidden. Music connects me to the rest of humanity, and at the same time brings me in closer communion with God. Music offers me something that nothing else can or will.
So perhaps I have “wasted” my intelligence by studying music. But then, perhaps, I have had a much richer and meaningful life than had I not.
That is my answer to, “Why music?”