Throughout this school year, my first one as a music major, I have grown and changed in many ways. These changes have transformed the way I perceive music, the way I practice music, the way I analyze music, and the way I relate to music. My classes, ensembles, and instructors have all influenced me in various ways, and I have made enormous personal and musical growth. I count it as a tremendous blessing to be able to pursue an education that allows me to explore my musical passion. This year has been short but absolutely jam-packed with experiences, and I eagerly await the growth I will continue to attain in future semesters.
Studying music theory has changed the way I view music by showing me that structure and guidelines can be a good thing. Some of my classmates have expressed frustration with the many "rules" and exceptions of voice-leading and counterpoint. However, I think the guidelines are beautiful! That may sound weird...but the guidelines essentially streamline the criteria for various genres of composition. That means that musicians all over the world have the opportunity to interact with pieces that are essentially connected at their very core. I mean, all existing pieces are essentially various compilations of the same chords, notes, and rhythms. Music is finite, and thus as a musician, I am connected to generations past by the thread of our music. The guidelines, for me, further enforce the truth that music is universal, and I think that is beautiful.
Through voice lessons, I have learned that success is defined by personal growth, not comparison to others. I always did, and still do have a problem with comparing myself to others. As I have hit ups and downs in my self-confidence and in my personal mental health journey, it has definitely impacted my performance in voice lessons. I have truly discovered the power of the mind, and how my outlook going into a lesson plays a huge role in determining the outcome of that lesson. I have spent too much of my life believing that "I can't do it", simply because I listened to the little voices in my head that convinced me someone else was better than I was, and that my individual worth and talent were somehow tied to theirs. It is time this way of thinking comes to an end. Those little voices in my head are from the Devil, and frankly, he can go back to where he belongs. I have made so many strides this year in my technique, performance confidence, and practice structure. I will celebrate those successes, and I will celebrate the successes of others. There isn't a finite amount of victory in the world. We may all win our battles, and we may all rejoice in one another's triumphs.
Finally, continuing my study of piano brought healing through music. I have gone through some difficult life events, both prior to coming to UMHB and during the past year here. Not to mention, adjusting to life as a new freshman in college is difficult enough just on its own! Through the music I worked on in my piano lessons, I was able to express my emotions and work through my thoughts. I often have a hard time outwardly expressing painful emotions. I have found that through throwing myself into creating a passionate rendition of the emotions written into the music, I am able to in turn feel and process my own emotions by proxy. My time at the piano is truly a gift from God, and I thank Him that I am able to continue that study at UMHB! He is so faithful.
Altogether, I am absolutely so blessed with the outcome of this first year at UMHB. I have learned and grown so much both musically and personally. The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and its Music Department are truly a gift from the Lord.