music score on piano
Creative Pursuits,  Music & Art,  Personal Stories

Defying Expectations: My Unexpected Journey to a Music Composition Major

Welcome back! Today, I’ll share the intriguing story of how I ended up majoring in music composition. Given my lifelong relationship with music, you might think this was a natural choice, but it’s quite the opposite. My journey was far from predictable, and here’s how it all unfolded.

Difficult Beginnings

Before college, I didn’t view music as a source of enjoyment; rather, it felt like a tedious chore. Piano practice was something I tried to avoid at all costs. In fact, I have a funny story from my fifth grade. To combat my reluctance to practice, my mom would sit with me during my piano sessions.

One day, she had to run errands and left me with a warning to finish my practice before she returned. She also told my six-year-old brother to keep an eye on me. As soon as she left, I attempted to continue practicing, but I quickly gave up and turned to my brother. I proposed, “Let’s go out! I’ll buy you ice cream, and we can play at the park.” He eagerly agreed, and we headed to the park. I added, “If Mom asks whether I practiced piano or not, you need to say ‘yes’ and don’t mention that we went out on our own. She’ll be furious.” After an hour of park fun, we returned home, and I immediately started doing my homework, pretending that nothing had happened.

When my mom returned, she asked if I had completed my piano practice. I quickly assured her that I had, secretly hoping she wouldn’t find out. However, she eventually learned the truth from my innocent brother, and the consequence was another round of scolding from my mom. When I asked my brother why he ratted me out, his answer was equally innocent: “I didn’t! I was just answering Mama’s question. She asked if you played the piano for an hour.” I had no idea how to respond; he was just too gullible.

A Fateful Decision

Given my history of evading piano practice, you might wonder whether I’d choose music as a long-term career. Well, my path to a music major was unexpectedly influenced by my dad. At 18, I mentioned wanting to study biotechnology or biochemistry. His response? Laughter and a comment about my lack of intelligence. I then proposed a business major, hoping to follow in his footsteps and assist with the family business. However, his reply was an emphatic “Please don’t!” He explained the risks, and I felt like I was staring into a financial abyss. So, I needed to choose something else.

My dad always emphasized that music should be a hobby, not a profession, because it doesn’t pay the bills. He pointed to struggling artists as examples. His words became the catalyst for my decision to major in music — primarily to defy him. As I had predicted, he was furious when he found out. He told me he hadn’t sent me to the United States to study music and become a piano teacher. He was disappointed, and he felt that we had invested too much for me to make such a choice.

My response left him speechless. I declared that I would major in music composition, a field where I had no prior experience. He argued that composition was a man’s world, requiring genius to excel. Nevertheless, I was undeterred. My sole motivation was to prove him wrong, to get into the composition major, and to thrive.

In this unexpected turn, I ventured into the world of music composition without any prior knowledge, determined to follow my own path and succeed.

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