{ "Is this really what I want to do?" }

"Only go into music if you can't imagine doing anything else."

I'm pretty sure I've heard this phrase more times than I've heard people trying to play the first three lines of the Moonlight Sonata, and if you've been a pianist all your life, that's saying something. While I understand the intent behind this statement, I believe it needs some clarification.

The past several weeks, months, and years, I've always found other subjects that interested me. In elementary school, I wanted to be an actress (I mean, what 10-year-old didn't?). In middle school, I wanted to be a writer. In high school I wanted to be a historian, then an FBI agent, then a singer-songwriter, a composer, a research psychologist. You name it. Unless it involved calculus, I was probably interested in it at some point in my life. I grew out of some of these interests, but I don't expect that my love for writing, singing, composing, adventure, or psychology will necessarily die in the future.

Lately, I've been imagining what it would be like to be a research psychologist. In fact, I was thinking about pursuing a dual degree with psychology, because the interest there remains strong. It is something I could see myself being very happy doing, considering my passion for psychology and discovery, but when I think about coming home from work every day, exhausted, not once touching the piano, there's something unsettling in that thought. When I imagine a life where I try to fit in an hour of piano on the weekends or just casually play once in a while, I don't like the image I'm seeing.

That is why I'm going into music, not because I can't imagine doing anything else or being anything else, not because music is the only thing I'm proficient at, but because I can't imagine living without it in my everyday life. Sure, you can still keep music a part of your life if you don't decide to be a professional musician, but I can't see myself living a life where I'm only trying to "fit in some music here and there."

Music is both my lifestyle and one of the largest parts of my identity; but I define myself by more than just fast fingers and lots of keys. I am a full human being with the experiences I have outside of the practice room influencing every moment I spend inside the practice room. Without that balance, I wouldn't be a musician.

I know that lots of people deciding to major in music, or anything for else matter, find themselves questioning, "Is this really what I want to do?" It's okay to question yourself. In fact, I believe that it's important to think about what it would be like to do something else and to explore things that you haven't been exposed to yet. I think that if you have a sense of multiple different options, it will make it easier and more fulfilling to decide on what you truly want to do.

It's good to be interested in other things. That's how you're reminded that you're human.

(P.S. I would love to hear any other thoughts on this topic!)

Bookmark and Share

{ Responses To This Entry }

I have to agree, and I think the balance is super important! I'm not even in the Con, but I take Secondary Lessons on Alto Sax and just having that hour of practice a day (plus mucking around on a Steinway, so it's really much longer) really grounds me.
I can't imagine going a day either without playing and listening to music either! That's why I love it here!

Posted by: Teague on November 2, 2015 2:43 PM

I have to agree with everything you said. Personally, I find that going into something art related only because you can't imagine yourself doing anything else is rather silly. In fact, I think by the simple fact that you are able to do other things means that you are a more well rounded human being, and that also gives you more to draw from for your art. Furthermore, it's a genuine passion for you rather than saying "I am doing it because I have to and nothing else would fit." No, you simply love it, and I think that is one of the most genuine reasons you can have for going into art.

Excellent post.

Posted by: Joey on November 2, 2015 5:11 PM

I can't imagine a day where I don't take photographs. It took me a very long time to proudly display the moniker of artist as a part of my identity, but I claim it fully now because I don't know how to live my life without photography fully ingrained in what I do. Even if I'm not pursuing a professional role as a photographer (read: getting paid to do it) it is hugely influential in everything I do in my life and in my work.

Great post, and a great reminder that art is a function of our interests and loves expressed all at once.

Posted by: Ma'ayan on November 3, 2015 10:53 AM

Oberlin College & Conservatory | Oberlin, Ohio 44074 | 440-775-8121 | College Admissions | Conservatory Admissions