Etched in Stone

Searching for Academic Direction: A Musical Struggle

Sasha Chappell

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As a senior in high school, I have had the “opportunity,” like many others, to struggle with making life decisions. From determining what I want to study in college, to researching schools that can meet all of my educational and financial requirements, finding what I want to do with my life has been a difficult uphill battle.

In school, I have been good at Biological Sciences. From doing internships to taking AP classes, I have had success in these subjects. I hope to study this in college, and I am going to study Biomedical Sciences at CSU. This was the easy decision.

The more difficult decision, however, was choosing whether or not I should continue playing music. I have been involved with music since I was four years old when I was playing a keyboard in my apartment in Arizona, and it has always held a special place in my heart. I now play the cello, which has become my passion, and do not wish to quit. However, music is not as profitable of a career as science, and there is no guarantee for a stable income. This is the dilemma that I have faced when deciding what I want to do in college.

At first, I considered trying to do a double major with science and music, but there are many problems with that. First, my college schedule would be packed, with full schedules every year for four years. I am unsure if this is something I am ready to commit to, and want to be involved in other things during my college experience as well, besides academics. Then, I considered playing only in ensembles without doing a major. This would allow me to play cello and have some exposure to university music, but I don’t think it would be fulfilling enough for me. I would like the opportunity in addition to continue playing after college in a professional setting, whether that be orchestra or teaching lessons. I have currently settled on a minor in music, which would give me an opportunity to switch to a major and give me some credit in college. This decision is a compromise, but more importantly, it gives me the option to decide what I want to do in college.

This type of decision is being made around the country by music students. Music is a difficult career to be very successful in, and even some of the best musicians in the nation will not have as easy of lives as those pursuing more lucrative careers in technology and medicine. According to the National Association for Music Education, about 50% of students quit music because of the lack of support that parents and society have towards music and because students don’t have time to practice. This lack of enthusiasm towards music has led to the decline in classical music appreciation and the rise of the minimalistic genre of music.

Choosing what to do in college is very difficult. Though people have told me to not declare a major my freshman year, I think that I need direction in college to be successful. I believe that I have found that direction, and I hope that every other senior can find their path to a successful future.

About the Writer
Sasha Chappell, Staff Writer
Sasha Chappell, senior, is entering his first year on the Etched in Stone staff. As a new journalist, he hopes to bring different ideas to the team regarding orchestra and the vast world of classical music. Outside of Etched in Stone, Chappell is a cellist involved with the Fossil Ridge High School symphony orchestra, chamber...
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Searching for Academic Direction: A Musical Struggle