There are a lot of career paths that I’ve always envisioned myself going down. In elementary school it was a firefighter, until someone told me that girls couldn’t do that, so then I changed courses. My thoughts ran to what my mom did, which was nursing, so for awhile I thought, “Oh, I want to do that too!” By high school, my heart was dead set on becoming a biochemical engineer, to cure cancer. And then….funniest of things happened. I was so incredibly bad at chemistry, and only slightly OK at biology. Senior year of high school hit, and the question of “what are you going to college for?” became a recurring theme. After a lot of thinking, music became the clearest choice.
But why music specifically? I realized how big a part music was playing in my life. I loved playing the cello, and I wanted to pass along how great music made me feel to the next generation of kids. Things started to add up. Teaching and music were things that I was good at, and things I enjoyed. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like the right fit. Music has taught me important skills: organization, time management, planning, leading, seeing the big picture, being detail oriented, teamwork, and communication. All skills that helped with my first career, and skills that I take with me in my everyday life.
The past several years have shown that music draws people together, but also provides the strength and compels necessary change. One of my students, from when I was still in the public schools told me once, “Ms. Wang, I was having a bad day yesterday, but then I picked up my violin, played, and knew everything would be OK.” This is the impact of music. Something for people to turn to, not only in times of need, but also as a way to express themselves. Philip Pullman put it best when he said, “Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play.” His blog post goes more in depth. And it’s not just children. There have been other adults and friends I’ve talked to, who have described experiencing music in a powerful way.
While a lot of the world circles the outward and necessary points about the benefits of music academically, those were not the reasons that drove me to music. For me, music opened up a whole new world of possibilities, and brings room for continual learning and improvement. It fills my soul, and fuels my other passions. Sure, people may ask, “what about music makes you ready for xyz?” and to that I have to answer, “It’s made me persevere through tough situations, it’s made me into a meticulous and organized person, it’s helped me bridge gaps and become a team player, it’s helped gain stronger self-esteem and confidence, it’s helped me become more outspoken, and it’s opened me to experiencing the beauty in this world.”
Was it the right choice? Yes. Best decision ever. For sure, there have been struggles, and this hasn’t been the easiest of paths, but, I would never, ever change a thing. So, why music? Music has helped me. Music has been my one constant in life. That’s why I chose music.