Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I Don't Believe In Destiny, or the Guiding Hand of Fate...

Okay, so that's not ENTIRELY true...

Sometimes fate doesn't just guide you. On occasion, fate can grab you by the cajones with all the subtlety and tact of a rabid pit bull and just yank you along the right path.

Case in point:
I started my Bachelor of Music Education degree in Septemer 1993. Marriage, kids, house, apathy, laziness - all factors that have slowed me along the way. Nonetheless, I have plugged away at it over the past 16 years. Now, all that remain are 3 classes, my student teaching...and 4 credits of private lessons. These are only offered at 1 credit per semester, which means that despite being able to finish my coursework in 1 year, I am a minimum of 2 years from my degree. It seems so daunting and far off.

I started taking private lessons my first semester at Wayne with Ron. Helluva player, fun to talk shop with, never one to pressure you, but insisted on improvement. A GREAT teacher. I took 4 semesters with him and passed each one. Not always with stellar grades, but enough to pass.

I took some time off school to start a family. When I returned, Ron had been replaced with Ken. Ken expected you to START at a minimum conservatory level, and if you weren't there, you weren't worth his time. I took 5 semesters with him and only passed once - when he didn't show up to my jury. This man became the gatekeeper of my degree. In order to finish, I needed to pass 4 semesters with him, and I couldn't. So, I decided to wait him out. His students were dwindling and sooner or later, the administration would notice. (see more on this in my original post from 9/06 HERE)

So, my obstacles for a long time were time, money, and my private lessons. Flash forward to this present day. Last month I watched the premier episode of Glee. I truly identified with the director character and between the odd parallels in the character's story and the inspirational music, I started thinking real hard about what I might have to do to finish my degree and start teaching.

Next, after not taking classes for 3 years and being rather consumed with other areas of my life that are exploding right now, I get a form letter last week from the WSU Music Department, inviting me to return to school and finish, complete with numbers to call to find out what I need to do. I'm sure they sent the same letter to several students, but it came just as the thought of returning and finishing my degree popped to the forefront of my mind.

Next, I get this new job at Starbucks. Not much money, but MUCH greater flexibility in the schedule to be able to fit in my student teaching durring normal school hours. Having had jobs that run 9-5 as my only available work time, and my primary income, that hasn't been much of a possibility at all.

Finally, I'm running into the warehouse today to talk with one of the guys about a customer's order, and who's sitting at the counter picking up supplies...but my old teacher, Ron. Apparently, he's now the primary trombone teacher at WSU. Ken is gone, and Ron's who I would be learning with. We start to talk about how close I am and that lessons are the longest part, taking a minimum of 2 years to complete. He suggests that there is precedent to double up the lessons to 2 credits per semester, getting me out in 1/2 the time.

Time and private lessons have been taken care of for me. Time for me to take the bull by the balls and get the money. I have to find $850 to pay off my old balance so I can register. I have a few days next week. I will be researching every grant, scholarship, and loan I can find to make this happen.

It's now within the realm of possibility (and I can't believe I am saying this) that I could have my degree by May. It depends on several factors and paying my balance this month, but that's the earliest I could have it.

My heart just sped up to about 120bmp just typing that. And I'm a band guy. I KNOW 120BPM!

1 comment:

Wes said...

This. YES. Good for you. You'll make a darn fine band director - I've known this for years.

And then you can hire me to do your marching band arrangements. And then we can go into business like we always talked about.