Yesterday, The Concordia Band embarked on our annual domestic tour, this year to the Seattle area. Today, we are at Stadium High School in Tacoma where the movie 10 Things I Hate About You was filmed. (How cool! Right? This place looks like a castle, overlooks Puget Sound, and has an amazing stadium!) Band tour is my favorite time of year, right behind Christmas. I love being able to take a week to make music, being immersed in something that I love. However, I don’t believe I would feel this way today if I hadn’t changed my major.
I came to Concordia dead set on becoming a music teacher. I started off as a Bachelor of Music, Music Education major. I was taking hour-long lessons on clarinet every week, half an hour piano lessons, and playing in at least four ensembles. Besides a couple of non-music classes, music was my life. A few months into school, my hand problems got a lot worse, so I had to switch to a Bachelor of Arts degree path. I wasn’t thrilled about this decision, but I simply could not handle the strain on my hands.
Sophomore year, as we started clinicals, I was in a ELL classroom at SG Reinertsen Elementary in Moorhead. I LOVED it! I loved working with younger students, and I loved teaching kids about english, math and geography. I loved the diversity of students and subjects in the classroom. During this time, I was becoming particularly disenchanted with my music classes. Music wasn’t fun anymore. Rather, it started to feel like work. In fact, I was beginning to hate playing.
So at the beginning of my second semester of my sophomore year, I was sitting in Aural Skills III, a dreaded set of three semesters of ear training for music majors. The first thing my professor, Dr. Narum, said was, “Over break, I contacted some of my colleagues to ask them how they use aural skills in their jobs today.” The first thing I thought was, “I’m not going to use aural skills. I don’t even want to teach music.” That was very telling.
I switched my major to elementary education that day. I stayed in all my other music classes, besides Aural Skills III, to finish up my music minor. I added Children’s Literature and Elementary PE to my schedule. I enjoyed those classes, and I thought I had found the perfect fit for me. As I continued clinicals, I realized that I wasn’t enjoying myself in the classroom. I got so nervous being up in front of kids and having the responsibility to teach them something. Mind you, I do not have a problem getting up in front of people and talking—that has never been an issue for me.
Come March, I went through a messy break up. Through that experience, I really realized that I needed to change my major. I needed to be intellectual stimulated in a different, the way that had happened in my religion classes I had taken. So here I am, a senior in college and finishing my entire major this year. And I love it! I wouldn’t change a thing, even though I am completely overwhelmed by reading and writing all the time. My major is challenging. My major makes me think in different ways. My major helps me ask questions about the world around me.
While it makes me irritated when people ask if I am going to become a pastor just because I am a religion major, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am finally in the right place. But that doesn’t take away from my story, it only enhances my experiences and journeys. I still have a passion for education, one that will be with me for all of my life. Who knows…I have been thinking that I might become a professor. I still have the rest of my life to figure it out.
As I sit listening to one of my incredibly talented classmates play marimba in a master class, I am so happy that I don’t hate music anymore. Music has become something I love again. Switching my major made that possible, and more importantly, changing my mind made that possible.