In my junior year of high school, the graduating class was composed of some of the most musically gifted students that any grade twelve class could ask for. And some went on to pursue their post secondary studies in music, and some in other fields of the arts. One of which was an award winning pianist who entered University of Toronto’s prestigious music performance program with piano as his main instrument (although he was also a great vocalist). About halfway through my senior year, I heard he had switched to include psychology in his field of study; but instead of hearing words commending him for diverse interests (mind you, he continued performing and competing in piano), all that could be said by the department head of music was, “he just didn’t have the discipline to continue with the hours needed for music performance, so he switched to psychology.”
I’ve kept mum on this discussion until now, because I was never quite sure what to make of the statement. But lately, I’ve been thinking about what makes for the challenge of studying your passion or something that you have invested a lot of your time in, I noted that there is a careful line on which one walks when choosing to studying something like such.
Whether one wants to admit it or not, any program will subjugate you to their thought process and way of going about things, and thus it is your job to fit into one of these modes of thinking. There may be some leeway allowing your experiment, but there is still a range to which you must conform. On a broader sense, one could relate such to the idea of being a good fit for a particular school; if you had the opportunity to select which university you attended, and the decision was not financial/program based, you often based your decision on whether or not you liked the crowd. In a similar and a more specific sense, this is what I mean by fitting into the program’s mode of operation. Outright rejecting the methodologies practiced does not necessarily make you a bad student, but perhaps, positions you as someone that beckons a different approach to learning.
Talk to any freshman who just finished their first year of college and is already contemplating a different major, and ask them why they are wanting to switch. They’ll often tell you that the major that they were once so passionate for was because of a particular teacher who taught the material in a way that engaged them. The intense theory that the school may throw at you, though, may make you realize that your desire to learn more about this subject is either superficial, or in a direction different from which you want in which you want to engage yourself. For those that have spent years training or studying what many have deemed their “passion,” the difficulty may be ever more present.
Passion for a particular field of study is, in itself, something different and something raw. To refine it often seems as though it is functioning to compliment a practical love. What I mean by the idea of a practical love (one could also say passion, but I would like to differentiate the terms without using italics) is the love for an activity that is conducive to contributing to society and the economy in a positive light. So what one could say is that in becoming a music teacher, there is the practical enjoyment in teaching, but the teachable/specialty may be rooted in the passion. In which case, the driving force is not to further the passion in music, but rather, to further the desire to teach others.
To say that one does not have the discipline to continue in a field of study because they are opting for another, which is new to them, is statement of no value. Furthering education in your passion is complicated; the fit into thought processes and desire to engage in a theoretical direction is incredibly important and is sensitive to the person’s prior training and direction. Moving into a new field of study does not require refining of the aged and studied passion, and therefore, immersing oneself into such studies is far easier. Of course, blending both passion and practical love and other desires is a possibility, provided that the passion is only acting as a compliment to such.
Image via PMI.org