Have you ever gotten one of those jigsaw puzzles that has hundreds of little pieces that all look pretty much exactly the same? Most people start with the corners and the edges, working their way in. For the most part, getting the border is relatively easy. For starters, there’s one side missing on each edge piece, plus it helps that there are usually less outer pieces. But how do you start filling it in with the middle pieces? You have this huge pile of puzzle pieces just sitting there, and some look relative to each other, but others look totally different, yet there’s still really no good starting point.
This is basically how I feel this semester. I’ve gotten a lot of the basics out of the way. Cool. Where do I go from there? The thousand little puzzle pieces in my head are all the questions I have. There are so many answers and solutions I need, but I have no idea which question to even start looking for the answer to. Should I switch from Music Ed to a B.A. in music? How can I get my averages back up from the one exam that I did terrible on at the beginning of the semester? Why do some of these things that we’re so heavily reprimanded for in our theory classes or private lessons seem to work so well a lot of times outside of class? Why do I constantly feel like I’m just a project? Like I need to be molded and shaped to sound and write exactly like all of my peers.
I feel all this pressure about having to open my mouth to half the size of my face when I sing, and how I have to have vibrato or I’m going to fail. A vi chord can’t go to a V chord in theory, even though I’ve used it plenty of times in my four and a half years of guitar playing. iii chords are heavily frowned upon by a lot of people, even though I can’t count how many times I’ve played a G-bm-em-C progression and it’s worked. It’s the relative minor of the dominant, why shouldn’t it?
I feel like we are being limited. We’re told to be creative when writing compositions and be ourselves and be expressive when we sing or play. But how can we be creative when we have so many guidelines telling us what to do? How can we be ourselves if we’re just constantly being told what we’re doing wrong? All this time, I’ve liked my voice and the way it sounds. All this time, I’ve liked the way it sounds when certain chords go to certain chords. All this time, I’ve been creative with my music, so how come when I finally decide to pursue a career in it, my creativity gets limited?
I’ve had so much on my plate this semester, along with probably every other college student out there. I commend anybody out there who has control over everything right now. UMHB is an amazing school, but I guess this semester I’ve come to realize my limits are just a lot smaller than I’ve always thought they were.