I’ve been studying music education for over 2 years now. I’m somehow a senior and being conditioned to go teach in under a year. Somewhere along the way I learned a couple things that are not exactly in the curriculum.
1. How to take an insane amount of credits… and survive.
I am so thrilled this semester to be taking ONLY 18 credits. Yes. ONLY 18. That number is unfathomable for the normal college student. So when I tell people last year that I was taking 22 credits, jaws hit the ground. Imagine their reactions when I told them that I had a decent amount of sleep (typically over 8 hours per night) and kept my GPA above 3.4 and had (ok almost had) a social life. It is possible. Stressful but possible.
2. How to sightread while driving.
This semester I’m taking (only) 18 credits so I have time to work. So I have a commute back before my night class two days per week. Traffic is the worst on the interstate during rush hour. I tend to procrastinate before my Thursday night class so in my head, my normal commute is about 20 minutes so I’ll have almost an hour to finish my assignments before getting dinner and going to class. So when I’ve been on the highway for almost an hour, I realize my homework is not going to get done after I get back to campus. So now you can pull up next to me inching along in traffic while singing children’s songs for my class in half an hour.
3. How to write (terrible) lesson plans while driving.
This is just like sight-reading while driving. Except I have to do something with those new songs. So I’ll pull out my laptop and type out lesson plans while I’m coming back from work. I never claimed they were good lesson plans but they are lesson plans all the same.
4. How to sleep anywhere.
With all the credits and the rest of the craziness of life sleep is sparse. There are some couches in the music hallway at Trinity that have become the best nap spot for the 10 minutes between class. Even though the couches are too short to actually fit on and not very comfortable, they are practically located within 20 steps of the practice rooms and rehearsal room so waking up 5 seconds before class is realistic. If these couches are all taken, chapel is a good place to catch a couple minutes of rest since you have to go anyway. Or sleeping in a practice room is always an option.
5. How to hate music.
Yeah I know I’m a music major but I’m getting to the point of not enjoying music. After spending every waking minute learning about music, analyzing music, or performing music it gets old. You walk around acutely aware of every time music is being played. Every person tapping their pen in a steady beat, music in the grocery store, trains pounding on a track, all of it can become a trigger after spending day in and day out surrounded by music.
6. How to care more about other people than yourself.
I’m almost done with my time here at TIU. It has been one of the most challenging experiences in my life. I realized that if I want to leave this place better than when I came, I need to care more about other people than I do about myself. Please don’t think of this as self hatred but rather as others oriented. While caring about people is important to being an education major, caring about the people in your life and those who will walk your path after you’re done should be important to everyone. I try not only to put the needs of every person I encounter above my own but the needs of future music education students. I might as well try to do everything in my power to help improve the school and the music education program the future.