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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Independent Study in Music (With Videos!)


Transferring to Prescott College was a big change for me. Before coming here, I had only studied music and German. Throughout my entire life, I had never considered being anything but a singer (whether it be musical theater, folk, or opera) and, in my last year of music school, a music teacher. I invested so much time and energy in my music education, starting voice lessons at age eleven and attending Interlochen Arts Academy and Westminster Choir College. So when I suddenly stopped wanting voice and music education for my career path, I took a year off, spent that year in Germany, and reevaluated what was important to me, and how I wanted to make a difference in the world.

It became clear to me that my priority was actually the environment. Luckily, I had already heard of Prescott College, and quickly decided that it was a perfect fit for me. But after a year without music, I felt I was ready to return to it, just on a much smaller scale. I decided to make Music Education my breadth, and continue my studies on my own terms.

Prescott College has many wonderful, fantastic classes and programs, but unfortunately it does not have music. This obviously makes studying Music Education difficult! Luckily I attend an institution that values self-directed learning, and I was able to do an independent study this semester in choral conducting. This semester, I conducted a choir of eighteen people, and it was challenging and rewarding and beautiful. After so many years of singing, I was in front of the choir for the first time, and I learned every step of the way. And on Friday, we gave a fantastic performance with over 100 people in the audience.

Prescott College is a unique institution. It offers small class sizes, excellent professors, and wonderful, specialized areas of study that prepare its graduates for bright, meaningful futures. If enough students have the will to make it happen, we could have music classes, too! Some people thought I was out of my mind to try and make this independent study happen, but I did and it was extremely successful. Prescott College students are strong-willed and passionate, and can do just about anything if they put their mind to it. If you want a class that doesn’t exist here, try to make it happen! Send emails, barrage professors, recruit your friends. If I can get eighteen Prescott College students with completely different schedules to volunteer for a choir… you can make it happen, too.

A word of advice to high-school students: Be open-minded and consider all your options. I was so convinced that I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life that I didn’t even consider anything else. Consequently, I didn’t pay much attention in my science classes, for example, because I didn’t think I would ever need that information again… and now my competence is Environmental Policy. You never know what surprises life may hand you, and it’s wise to keep all your options open. Soak up as much knowledge as you can! You might never need it again, but it will only contribute to your education as a human being. It can’t hurt to understand how photosynthesis works, even if you may never need to know it again.


 
 
 
 
 

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