Things that seem to go together

It’s rather interesting, there seem to be a few things that just go together well. One of those things appears to be music and med school. Maybe it’s just the people that I’ve personally encountered, but there seems to be a lot of med/premed students who are good at music. VERY good. It makes me wonder what the connection might be, because I also fit into this “box” (as such).

In high school, I not-so-briefly flirted with the idea of becoming a high school music teacher. I had very high grades in 2 instruments (flute & piano), grade 6 theory, and formal vocal training. But because they changed the requirements for music degrees a couple of years before I graduated, they no longer considered high grades in multiple instruments to be equivalent to a freaky-high grade in a single instrument. So my abilities were not enough to get in anywhere, and that threw me for a six. Because I hadn’t considered that I might not get into Music somewhere, I had let my classroom grades suffer slightly to concentrate on my music. So there I was, 17 years old with no back-up plan and having just been rejected from every music school I had auditioned for. I ended up starting a Bachelor of Arts the following year anyway (because it was the only thing I could get into with my overwhelmingly crappy high school marks), but it’s taken me a long time to get past that failure and work out what I wanted to do.

I still do music. A lot of music. I’m the rehearsal pianist for a musical that runs every year (and synth player for the actual shows), I train the kids that come through the show as best I can so that they are singing well and don’t ruin their voices. Up until recently, I also did a second musical every year, as well as being involved in a university choir. I had to let those things drop for the sake of my health though. While my piano was living at my Mum’s place I was also teaching C how to play.

Then somewhere along the way, I realised that I don’t really want to do music as my job because I like it. I want to be able to play what I want to, when I want to, and not have to play things I don’t like. This isn’t always possible with doing musicals, but they don’t take up so much of my time that I can’t also play the things I want to.

This realisation then left me a little adrift, as I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to help people, but I really had no clue HOW I wanted to do that. So I went back to basics – what fascinates me? Science. How things work. What happens when things don’t work how they should, and how to fix it. And brains. I am fascinated by how such a small lump of goo could do so much, and WHY things happen how they do. I want to know how it all works. Enter Bachelor of Psychology – and the realisation that psychology is an awful lot of talking and not a lot of “how things really work”. Realisation that Oliver Sacks is a psychiatrist (his books are fascinating – if you haven’t read them, you need to. Particularly “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat”), and with a bit of further research, deciding that Psychiatry is actually where I want to be. Or possibly neurology, but I think psychiatry is more my thing. I’ve got a few more years yet to really decide which of those two I actually like better.

Has anyone else noticed this music-medicine connection, or is it just me?

~K

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