Participating in the Second Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP) was an opportunity I used to continue my musical education even though I am a non-music major at Ohio State. I took music lessons through Columbus Music Schools who worked seamlessly with me to make sure I had the proper documentation and that I was prepared for my reporting back performance. I took one vocal lesson and one guitar lesson per week. Taking guitar and vocal lessons has helped me realize that I will be able to one-day sing and play at the same time with continued practice. I learned how to play basic guitar music and I improved upon the vocal base I already had.
As a soprano singer myself, my vocal instructor challenged me by having me perform songs that were in a lower range than I am use to singing. I learned to overcome my fear of singing in front of people and this in turn has boosted my self-confidence and has even improved my public speaking skills. I have always enjoyed singing, but performing for other people was unsettling to me. Not only did I perform in front of people at the STEP expo, but I also performed at the Columbus Music Schools spring recital. This experience has done more than just taught me how to sing properly. It has given me life skills that I will use in my future career. I also learned some music theory in these lessons and that is transferrable to any instrument. I can use my music theory to analyze music in my everyday life.
I had never played guitar before my first guitar lesson. I learned not only how to play the guitar, but the historical significance of the guitar and how rock and roll was developed. My guitar instructor focused a lot on the education of influential bands, guitar players, and the evolution of guitar playing as we know it today. This supplemental information has given me a platform to communicate with people that I may not have had anything in common with. Listening to the different styles of influential guitar players has given me a new appreciation for the guitar. Compared to other instruments I know how to play; guitar is much more difficult. I struggled with the rhythmic aspects of guitar and the coordination of both hands. The guitar is a very dynamic instrument and I was challenged musically by the guitar. I learned a lot from the guitar that I have not learned from the flute, piano, bells, or saxophone. My new knowledge I have acquired has led me to develop a newfound interest in other genres of music.
Music lessons do more for a person than teach them how to play the instrument. I use music for my personal mental health. I believe music has a strong hold on a person’s emotions and feelings. Music can make people feel a certain way and being able to play an instrument and project the emotions that a person is feeling into the music has an almost medicinal property. I use music to project my feelings and to open up about myself when words may not suite the situation or are hard for me to articulate.
I believe that music is an outlet for a lot of people especially college students. Walk around campus and you will see most students with headphones in. Music is all around us and everyone is drawn to music genres that they can connect with. I used these music lessons to connect more with myself and express myself. I found that during finals and other stressful times, music became very important for me and playing helped to make life less stressful. This is a technique I can use in future stressful situations to improve my mental health.
The relationships that I built with my instructors helped to build me a network of people in the music industry that I could go back to and continue my education later on. Both of my instructors listened to what I wanted to accomplish and helped me create a transformative experience for myself. Networking not only provided me information in the realm of music, but it helped support my future career as a veterinarian. Dr. Freedy my guitar instructor added me to his cat care team for when he leaves on trips. These kinds of connections may seem minor, but they articulate how the world works. Networking is so important. I learned so much about myself and how important it is to communicate clearly what you want from others. Both instructors helped me to really transform.
The impact of my transformational experience did not just last the 8 months I was involved in music lessons. This is an experience that will affect me for the rest of my life. I can use the information I have learned to continue playing instruments, improving my skills and connecting with music and other people. As a non-music major, the influence of the newfound confidence I now have and the education I have received that goes beyond the classroom has truly created an experience that will carry with me for years to come. I would recommend STEP to incoming students as a way to learn more about themselves and find joy in life in places that they may have forgot existed.