I believe that learning is an act of humility. I discovered the truth of my belief during my first semester of college in which I took a music class. Growing up with a musical family, having knowledge of how to play a guitar and drums and an acquaintance with piano somehow gave me a mindset of knowing all that I needed to know about music. But the first day I set foot in that class, I received one hefty reality check.
The professor’s name was Daniel Craig. He was also my sister’s choir director. My family and I had attended one of the school’s choir concerts earlier that year, at which we were awestruck by the performances and amazed by the director’s composition ability. The performance that night sent goosebumps up my arms, which indicated that something amazing was taking place. From that moment on, I couldn’t wait to experience something musical at USI.
The curriculum for my music class was overwhelming and, to my dismay, quite difficult. Class consisted of quick note-taking and attempts to recognize terms and technique in pieces of music that we listened to in class. Although we didn’t have assigned homework, we were expected to study the text and songs on our own. The three exams consisted of fifty questions over the text, and fifty over the listening guides, which were played aloud the day of the test. We had to identify the composer, title, genre, form, or meaning using our memory and ears alone.
My study methods for this class were probably close to unhealthy. I would study in the library for hours, determined to succeed in this class. There was even an instance in which I seriously considered giving up and dropping the class, like many others already had. But then I remembered the fact that every time I walked out of that class, I was in awe of the things I had heard or learned. I learned something new and fascinating everyday.
There were other things that kept me going, as well. Dan told us great stories of his amazing experiences in Ireland and Poland. And sometimes, if I was lucky, he would just begin to sing a beautiful melody on perfect pitch, or he would play a beautiful tune on his beloved Baldwin grand piano. It was incredible! I couldn’t believe I was fortunate enough to have the privilege to be sitting there witnessing the true magic of music, firsthand, and front row center. I had never felt so many emotions at once: amazement, intrigue, astonishment, and, most importantly, humility.
My music class was the most challenging, frustrating, maddening, and humbling experience I ever had. Through this class, I believe I learned how to learn. I learned that there is so much to learn, and that sometimes we do need a reality check, and need to figure things out on our own. We need to remember that there’s always more to learn. Through that, I believe we can find true humility.
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