Ask me why I am a music education major and I can actually tell you a relatively interesting story, the beginning of which started when I was still in high school. I think that by the time I was a junior in high school, I was largely sold on the idea that I wanted to be a professional horn player. However, once that proverbial “growing up” started to happen, I found my priorities to have shifted quite dramatically.
I managed to make it through my first year of college as a horn performance major, although I was entertaining the idea of pursuing a double major, perhaps in psychology. I did what every good freshman music major should do: study hard in music theory, struggle my way through aural skills, and practice my instrument (although probably not as much as I should have…which just might have been the first indicator in the shifting tectonics of my career priorities).
The summer after my freshman year of college saw me as a member of Team SWAG at Music for All’s Summer Symposium, held at the time on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal, IL. Team SWAG was made up of fifty or so crazy music majors and teachers and we were responsible for doing a lot of the behind-the-scenes work needed to ensure that the camp ran smoothly. I spent much of my time as a counselor for the girls on floor eight of Hainie Hall and I had a blast. Perhaps this whole music education thing could work out after all.
Well, I ended up switching my major from horn performance to music education during my sophomore year, but not for the reasons that you might be thinking. Practicality facilitated the switch, and I was encouraged by the fact that I would have a teaching license (and therefore, a job) when I graduated. Shallow, I know. It wasn’t until the practicums for my instrumental methods class that I really started to get the teaching bug. I was beginning to realize that education might be a good vocational path for me. I had also been tutoring music theory and aural skills with the Academic Enhancement Center at my school, which I have been enjoying immensely.
Now I am a senior music education major and I am no longer motivated by practicality or the singular desire to possess a teaching license. Rather, I am invested in education because I love to teach and am passionate about it. My journey to this point was not linear, and although I often prefer planning, organization, and straightforwardness in general, I would not change how I have arrived to this point. The individual journeys that we embark upon in our lives are determined by unique sets of circumstances, which consist of conscious decisions we have made, as well as a healthy dose random chance. For that reason, I would not go back and change anything, even though I think about all of those “What if” questions at times. If my personal journey has taught me anything, it has been that it is always important to pursue your passions, regardless of what they may be. For me, that passion is education, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.