There are times in life when people astound me. Sometimes because of their talent, courage, faith, kindness or ignorance. If you guessed which of those was recently demonstrated to me, you already know this is going to be one of those posts. Let me recount my tale...
It all began at my place of work, the library. Three of us were scheduled for that shift including myself, Nicky, and one non-music major trainee. We'll just call her "Jane Doe."
The shift began as usually with the reshelving of last night's books and scores, turning on computers, and chatting about nothing important. Somehow, our conversation drifted into our manager's well-known recount of her years as the sole music student of her class. The three of us musicians laughed and commented on our own experiences, the humorous and stressful alike. The topics ranged from theory to eartraining to ensembles. All the while, Miss Doe is following along, laughing, yet not totally comprehending.
Eventually, our manager returns to her desk, so Nicky and I continue the discussion. This was when Jane felt compelled to ask us a question, "So, ya'll actually got to work to be a music major?" Besides the lack of grammatical skills, the question was not one that we hadn't heard often. Therefore, we knew how to answer and patiently explained the massive amount of time, effort and skill it takes to be a professional musician. I illustrated the long hours Opera rehearsals entailed for the reward of one credit hour and the stress of juries, translations, diction and IPA. Nicky pointed out the difficulty of the educational instrument method classes, the Senior portfolio and student teaching.
Miss Doe, to her credit, listened quietly, analyzing all we had revealed in her head. I hoped we had converted one more "they do nothing of value" person over to our side. We awaited the next question.
Furrowing her brow, Jane simply replied, "So, ya'll got to actually play somethin' or sing to be a music major? I mean, 'cause I just thought you showed up and they taught you that."
Have you ever had that feeling of when you would love nothing more than to snatch the nearest encyclopedia and whack yourself into unconsciousness? I have.
Once Nicky and I had replaced our eyes into their sockets and disengaged from the stare we had been holding with each other, we attempted to expound upon our previous endeavor by describing the application process. I will not type out all the requirements for an audition. If you are that curious, google "music school" or "music conservatory," follow the links to a school and click on audition requirements. You'll quickly understand the talent and skill needed for this accomplishment.
By the end of two hours' traffic, Jane Doe, if not understood, appreciated the hard work and dedication involved in our chosen careers. One more person had been removed from the darkness of ignorance and walked into the light. Our job was completed. We buoyantly returned to shelving books and reiterating the proper usage of the copier.