I graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1996. Just this past weekend June 14-15, some of my friends attended our 20th Year since Graduation at the Alumni Weekend organized by our University. From the photos taken, they all had a great time.. Photos taken with Professors and fellow Alums.
(We even ended up as the Cover photo of the Class of 1996).
(That's me, the 2nd from right beside Kate)
20 years on.. Kate and Wendee Sarah, Wendee and Kate
The photos brought back so many wonderful memories of my four years spent in Ohio. It was my first time going to the United States, being away from my parents and from Singapore. I was both excited and apprehensive at the same time.
However, I met many wonderful Professors and friends who made me feel at ease and at home. It was in Ohio that I really grew up to be more responsible as I had to make a lot of decisions on my own. In those days, there wasn’t WhatsApp and calling from US to Singapore was expensive, so I had to take charge of my life.
In Ohio, I also made many friends from all over the world. Our school was a Liberal Arts school and we had students from Greece, Cyprus, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Chile, Venezuela, Japanese, Korean, and so many more.. All from diverse backgrounds and cultures. It was certainly a wonder experience indeed.
What transpired me to write this blog is this photo shared by my fellow musician, Kate Cremean. It was a locker that was drawn and personalised by a fellow Musician, by the name of Benjamin Bunsold. He was our senior, graduated one year before us, a wonderful and talented singer. Kate was in Sanborn Lounge (that is the hangout place for music students to chill after or in between practice). We each had a locker and Benjamin’s locker stood out from all of ours which was the usual grey metal lockers. Kate took this photo of his locker as it was still there even after 21 years.. Amazing isn’t it?
To be back at a place where you spent most of your waking and sleeping hours for 4 years. The lounge has seen many students over the years, and if the walls could talk, it would tell of the struggles, frustrations, the joys, the sadness and the laughter of students past and present. To be back after 20 years to see something familiar..which brought back so many memories. Wow!
Apologies, I was so caught up in reminiscing the past that I got carried away. The point I am trying to make is. At the end of the day, when you look back at your life, when we start connecting the dots, the events that lead to our current situation. When you look back at your life, are you satisfied with what you have done and achieved? or do you feel that you could have done so much better? or perhaps taken a different path?
Learning music is the experience of being able to produce the sounds and create the effect of musical wonder from an instrument invented so many years ago. It is the knowledge of understanding the life of the composer and how each sound is being created to weave and tell the story that the composer would want to tell if he was yet alive. That is the mark of a true musician.
I was very fortunate to have wonderful and talented Professors, who inspired me and instilled in me the importance of each nuances and timbre in producing the sound and effect you want, to always listen to each note that is produced, to be sensitive to each touch, and to give life and character to the composer’s work. That sparked in me the importance of being true to the written music.
My Professors have inspired me to also be a good teacher, to impart the knowledge that I have learnt to my students and develop them to have these character traits and mold them to be well-rounded individuals who love music.
The music path is a tough and sometimes lonely road with many hours spent in the practice studios, honing your skills and making the musical passage sound effortless though it may not be so. Many students now learn music, though few may want to travel on this path less trodden.
The hours of sacrifices when other students are enjoying their weekend while you practice alone in the music studio, the hours where you spend on just one passage trying to produce the sound that you want, the hours of frustrations when you are bent over working on a passage relentlessly, the times where you sacrificed lunch or dinner and not leave your practice studio so that someone doesn't take your studio from you. No one can take those experiences from you, they are the test and culmination to make you a better and mentally stronger musician. The teaching path has taken me to many places, many work situations and finally to running my own studio, Mosso Music Academy.
Over these past 14 years, I have taught and shared my passion of music with my students and I am still very passionate about teaching. I have never regretted that decision to be a Music Educator.
To those who have yet to start your musical journey, do think about having music is your life. Whether you do choose music as your ultimate career, just having music in your life will create joy and provide an outlet for you in times of joy and sadness. It has indeed been a wonderful journey and experience. I have never regretted it, and neither has my fellow Musicians from the Class of 1996, and I know you will not as well.