I've had a lot I need to think about these past few days and I'm not much closer to coming to a definitive answer.
I had my advising meeting last Thursday and found out that one of the courses that is required for my degree isn't offered until the summer of 2016. That's the year I plan to graduate. I've been trying to find a time to sit with my adviser to ask more about this but her schedule has been pretty busy as of late, but it's my top priority to understand how that's going to work out.
Also, I'm taking two courses this summer. It's also part of my degree and it's required and it's all about research. Using APA formats, correctly citing sources, and a whole lot of other things. It might be offered online, but the teacher has told us to be ready to meet in person, so whenever I land a job I'm keeping that in mind. The job hunt hasn't been successful, but I'm still looking for a summer job and one to carry over into the next semester.
Which brings me to the main point of this blog. Student teaching. I have to make my decision on this soon, but I'm really worried about it. It really hit home for me on Monday during a presentation I had about Assessing Musical Behaviors, and the types of tests teachers and students take that brought up a discussion of the Praxis II and how hard it is for the seven people also working towards getting this degree to pass. And if you don't pass it, you can't student teach, which then means you can't graduate. Some people have been stuck at this phase for a while.
The two-three classmates I talk to the most who are going through it right now have been taking the test 2-3 times so far and keep missing the passing marks by one point. And I haven't even passed the Praxis I yet. I've taken it twice and have missed it both times. Although now, they don't have the Praxis I, they have what is called the Praxis Core, but I've heard people say that test is hard as well. Not only do I have to take both Praxis tests, but I have to take an additional test as part of this side program to get my teaching certificate.
I'm worried I wont pass any of it and I'll be stuck trying to get it for a while/long than I had initially planned. Like I said in my last blog post, music therapy had sparked my interest, but I can't do that as I don't have an undergraduate degree in music therapy (which is ok, because at minimum I can have a bachelors in music) but then I'm not currently enrolled in a program for music therapy and pass a board exam and...you can read all about that here.
So, at this point in time, I'm getting worried about making big decisions about what I'm going to be doing in the near future. Will it affect how long I'm in school? When I graduate? And on top of all of that I have so many papers and exams to prepare for.
Such is the life of a grad student. I know it'll all work out eventually, it's just taking that first step that's hard to do.
I've had this song stuck in my head today.
No, this isn't an April Fool's prank, I'm actually putting up a blog post. It's been a looooong while since I've done one so you're going to have a lot to read today! :)
First thing's first. I bet you're all wondering about book three in our Quadruple or Nothing series. Well...I underestimated just how much time getting a master's degree would take. I'm great with time management and I've never felt that school was ever too hard for me so I came into this a little bit naive I'll admit. This time around with my schooling I prepare a lot during the week to make sure I'm caught up and comprehending everything in class and with the track I'm going with I have to write a lot of 10 page papers. Around studying for midterms and finals, I have two 10 page papers (actually, one of them doesn't have a page limit), one half hour presentation, one hour and a half presentation, and a research article. But, the bright side, I'm really working on the different voices in writing and I can see my writing skills improving. So, novel writing has, admittedly, been put on the back burner for a while.
Second. I'm proud of myself. Since January/February Jess and I have made it a goal to go to the gym every weekday. There have been a few instances where we didn't go for various reasons, but we're going on our 4th consecutive month of gym and weight lifting. We're drinking a lot more water and have cut back on eating a bunch of junk food during the day (for the most part, you can't separate us from our popcorn). We're planning on running a 10K in May and then a 5 miler in July.
Third. A lot has happened since my last post in August. School breaks, good grades, lots of laughter between the four of us of course and growing as people. In school I'm working towards getting a master's in music education. The experience of student teaching and learning how to teach will help me overall in the long run as it's something I can fall back on. But, the thing is, teaching isn't a big passion of mine anymore. As I've attended school, I've had my eyes open to different careers with music such as music therapy and the music industry (sound production, audio engineering, etc). And I've grown to be really interested and excited to learn more about them.
It really started with my psychology of music class I took last semester where it really looked into why students have stage fright, what age is the best to start having your kids learn an instrument, why don't they practice as often, how do you get them to practice, a lot of stuff like that.
It was also with another one of my classes I really found out that there are schools that offer courses in sound production, and audio engineering, and things like that and came to realize, that a part of the reason why I want to be a teacher is because that's all I've been taught in schools you can do with music (apart from moving on to be a part of a symphony or philharmonic). Apart from one day having my own band and touring, I never thought outside of how music is taught to you in schools; concert band, orchestra, chorus, marching band, ensembles like those. I had the most fun playing in my high school's rock band because it was so different then the academic based music ensembles I was a part of.
That's why I chose to do my research article on music education alternatives and showing how importan it is to include other options such as audio engineering and production and composition. Not everybody is going to be comfortable playing in a band or have the talent or potential to be in a concert band or orchestra but don't know any other way to pursuit their musical passion, or to even see what else they'd be musically inclined at. I believe everybody should be included in a music program anyway that they can.
So, on the topic of music therapy. Go watch the movie Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory (official website). It's on Netflix. Watch it now. With tissues nearby. It's amazing how music can help those who have dementia or alzheimers or who has suffered from a stroke not be able to talk or form a complete sentence or not even recognize that someone is talking with them, but the minute they hear a familiar piece of music they come alive. Their eyes light up and they start to sing, they just look...alive. There's also examples in class I've seen where music therapy can help people learn how to walk again.
Only problem for me is that to be certified as a music therapist, I need (at a minimum) an undergraduate degree in music therapy. If not that, you can have a bachelor's degree in music (which I have! yay! *waves pom-poms*) and then you can get a master's in music therapy. Only then, I'd have to take all the undergraduate courses for it including some psychology courses, music theory (which I took four semesters of classes of, but I'll need to take those again for a refresher), some basic piano and voice (if you know me, you know how hesitant I am about that), have a 6 month internship in music therapy, and pass the board exam.
I thought I could have an intern or shadow some people this summer for a job, maybe assist some, but I can't do that without doing the 6 month internship first. And honestly, I'm not too open to being in school for another two years (or maybe more) at this point in time.
I'm getting some information about the music industry undergrad here and what I can do with it as a grad student, as well as having my advising meeting tomorrow to figure out what I'm going to do next semester. I still have some time to decide about student teaching before registration comes around.
That's it for now! Thanks for reading.
PS: I'm in a Phil Collins/Genesis mood today (as I often am). Fun Fact: Mack heard this song once at work and asked me what it was, giving me a real basic over-Skype text chat description of it and I figured it out in less than fifteen minutes!! :)