When I was applying for colleges, I knew I wanted to stick with music. I was infamous in high school for being overly involved: I did band, choir, musical theatre, and took any music production class I could. Being well-rounded was great, but when it came time to audition for schools and choose what I wanted to major in, I had no idea. I hadn’t spent countless hours practicing one instrument, I wasn’t a performer, and I didn’t see myself as a music teacher. I felt that music departments at many schools only advertised their performance and education degrees, and I felt a bit lost. I thought to myself, “are there any other options for people who were looking for something different?”
I ended up scheduling some college auditions with the intention of pursuing just a general music degree. I then canceled all of them except for one, which is a whole different story. Although, I quickly decided on Illinois after I was accepted. Prospective students who are looking to pursue a B.A. in the School of Music don’t have to go through an audition, and honestly, that is one of the main reasons I chose to go here. B.A. students don’t have to take lessons and aren’t required to be in ensembles, and that flexibility is what drew me to Illinois. I am not a performer and do not enjoy auditions/performances of any sort, so being able to pursue music without having those pressures is a dream.
So, I came to Illinois as a Music+ major. The idea of Music+ is that you add another area of study and essentially create your own degree. I intended to do Music + Business, as I thought that the combination of those two subjects was what I wanted. In a meeting with my academic advisor, before I left campus for a semester to do the Disney College Program, she suggested that maybe business wasn’t the ideal area of study for me based on my interests. A few months later, my mom was actually the one who sent me the information about the Music Technology degree, I had no idea that it was even an option.
After an interview and submitting a portfolio, I was admitted into the Music Technology major. I was worried about the courses: I hadn’t done too much music production, I knew nothing about coding, etc. However, after being in classes specifically for Music Technology, I knew I made the right decision. I’ve never been much of a math or science person, but I found it fascinating to learn about mathematical concepts concerning music. I’ve gotten to think about music and sound in new ways and learn so many cool skills like mixing and programming. Last year I coded a piece as a final project, which I didn’t even know was possible.
This program has taught me so much academically and has really helped me personally as well. I feel like I’ve truly found the area of music that I am most passionate about, and I spend my days doing what I love. My best advice is to never be discouraged because you feel out of place: there is always a place for you, it might just take some time to find. I’m grateful that I stuck with music and found the degree program that’s right for me, and I encourage you to always explore all of your options.