Recently, I was told by a friend – no doubt with good intentions – that going to college for a music degree would be a waste of money and that I could learn what I need by other means. This stuck me, kind of like when an ex-partner said that I should have a practical reason to study something or not bother. I’ve always believed in the idea of study for study’s sake, and that one can never learn enough. One should never stop learning.
Sure, I could think of other more practical areas to study, such as nursing, which may or may not be beneficial to me. But at this stage of my life, I would like to study something that I am passionate about and have a vested personal interest in. At 54, I’m not very much interested in all things practical.
In my formative years, I wen to Manhattanville College for two years as a Pre-Med Chemistry major, until I decided to hook up and get married. In the late 80’s, I had the distinction of being accepted by and attending Columbia University which, when I was laid off from my investment banking job two weeks before Christmas, proved sadly short-lived. I loved Columbia, and I thrived there as an adult student. Columbia introduced me to classical music’s great composers and works, the great artists, and Mayan culture. Also, while working in Manhattan, I had taken up the violin, studying with a member of the New York Phil in her flat in Greenwich Village. That sadly ended as well. That was the first time I was serious about learning an instrument.
Later still in life, I attended SUNY’s Empire State College for adults as a Psychology major, and then another college, this time Theology, but in both instances, major life changes ensued and again ended my studies.
Which brings us to today. I am 54 years old and I do not have a college degree. I thought that really didn’t matter to me, but I was wrong. It is something that I want to, need to, do…. to finish. And since my passion is music – its always connected the dots throughout my life – what better subject to study. I want to study music performance so that, after graduating, I might be able to perform my music in sacred spaces for others; for times of joy and for times of sorrow. And the only means by which I foresee my musicality taking flight is through total immersion which, invested in a full-time college program, I will receive. It is a personal challenge that I hope beyond anything to be able to accept.