A Singular Vision

What are your professional plans? What area of your academic studies do you plan to make into your career? What academic and personal steps are you taking to achieve this goal?

Though my specific academic and career goals have grown and developed as I have matured, I have always maintained a singular vision: to pursue music, in any way possible, and use it to touch others.For most of my childhood, I desired a career in piano performance. Early in high school, however, I realized that not only would a major in theory and composition be more feasible, but it would coincide more with my career goals-to discover and nurture gifted young composers and musicians. My aspirations to teach music composition and theory are partly driven by the fact that my own piano preparatory program lacked any sort of instruction in composition. I also realized, through my longtime self-employment as a private piano teacher and music theory tutor, that I enjoy teaching and watching others succeed with my assistance. My dream has been encouraged even more by a current professor of mine, Dr. Karen Fournier, who approached me after a short lecture recital I presented as a class project. Though I was experiencing the jangled nerves of a novice public speaker, she commented, “You know, you really have a future in teaching.”As Dr. Fournier pointed out, my current academic studies will be integral to my career. I have chosen to pursue a Bachelor of Music in music theory, which is quite similar to the composition degree except that it offers more flexibility in scheduling, allowing me to also pursue my interests in Spanish (my minor), Italian studies, and piano performance. Since I plan to teach music theory and composition, I feel that I am attending substantially the same classes that I will eventually be teaching, giving my studies a degree of relevance not often found in many students’ class schedules. In addition, I am cultivating relationships with professors who may eventually become my colleagues. My Spanish studies not only keep my schedule well rounded (and keep me from being sequestered in the music building all day), they will also make me more competitive in our increasingly bilingual career market. I also study Italian for several reasons-not only for its obvious usefulness at family gatherings, but because it is often required for graduate students pursuing terminal degrees in music. Because of this, I plan to complete the accelerated sequence of Italian offered at Michigan by taking the second semester (combining semesters 3 and 4 of the normal sequence) as soon as my schedule allows. To further prepare myself for a career in teaching, I have recently volunteered myself as a designated music theory tutor at Michigan. This hands-on experience with struggling students is not only valuable to me; it is greatly appreciated by the students themselves (who must pass four semesters of core theory classes to graduate) as well as by their professors. An added bonus is that I am paid for my time. This opportunity to work directly in my chosen field even during my undergraduate years is something I believe will prove invaluable in the future. Though my career plans have evolved considerably over the years, I have always maintained one overarching goal-to encourage promising young musicians and bring the joy of music to others.

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