Friday, April 2, 2010
the university tour
The flowers were starting to bloom under the trees on campus. The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor's music department was alive and humming, singing, ringing, and a playing when we took the tour during our stay. We got an overview of their department from a cozy conference room overlooking the pond that is supposedly in the shape of a grand piano. I could only sort of make it out. They offer performance, pedagogy and education degrees in music, at bachelor, master, and doctoral levels.
The words that struck my daughter however, were the many students who do music in conjunction with engineering or other math related fields. This has been her dilemma, I think. She is strong in both areas, yet I have spoken often of the difficult reality making a real living in the music world. It is not easy, but it is wonderful. I believe she had started to shut the door on a career in music.
My words to all my students have been to choose something else unless you just can't see yourself in any other profession. There are so many opportunities to have an avocation in your instrument: civic orchestras, community musicals, church choirs. There are many ways to continue to use and share your gifts. My daughter has heard this speech countless times, and has a good idea watching my life of a musician's unique challenges.
What Ann Arbor's music tour did was stir up some thoughts of reopening the door to a double major or including music in her life while on campus-Hallelujah!
While we were on the walking tour, Ann Arbor unexpectedly opened my son's eyes too. At the age of 14, he was not looking at the college other than to be dragged along with his sister, or so he thought. But since then, he has spoken highly of the university's green efforts. He remarks about the buses, the Zip car system, and especially how many hydrogen cars he saw in use there.
I was impressed by the conscience efforts to minimize waste, and their advanced computer lab in the music library, hooked up with keyboards and composition tools.
I guess we just never know what experiences stick with kids, do we?