Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written on this subject. Mainly because I kind of thought I was done with it. I don’t know why I thought that. We all knew from day one, when our son chose music as his college major (or, more accurately, music chose him), that this was an all or nothing academic endeavor. That is, he went in knowing that he would need, at the very least, a Master’s degree, or more likely, a Doctorate, in order to be able to create a fulfilling life in music. People ask me all the time what his plans are when they hear he is a Percussion Performance major. And truthfully, I answer that we’re not one hundred percent sure right now. With an advanced degree, more doors are opened to him. If I tell them what I really think he could do, I get frightened looks from people who have suddenly come to the realization that they are speaking with a deranged, or at least, delusional person. You know the types who are convinced that their high school football playing son is destined for the NFL and you’re thinking to yourself, “Yeah…he’s probably not, so…”
The truth is that Peter loves performance. The other reality, though, is that it is extremely difficult to make a living in performance. There’s a pretty good chance that he won’t be the next big rock star, so he most likely will not be featured on the MTV (I think) show”Cribs” (is that even still on the air?) which features(ed?) insanely rich, self-absorbed twenty-something celebrities showing off their obscene wealth. (Wouldn’t that be nice, though?) He’s sure at this point, though, that teaching in a high school, which would require a Music Ed degree and not a Performance degree, isn’t what he wants to do. With a graduate or post-graduate degree, however, he would be able to teach at the college level – still not an easy gig to snare – pun intended (percussionists will get it), but more fulfilling for him, I think. The current head of Percussion at the University of Iowa, where Peter is entering his final year of undergraduate study, is only the second person to hold that position in the history of the Music School. I told Pete that maybe he can be the third. Hey, someone will be…right?
But, the career path I have in mind for Peter, which may very well include both a professorship position and that of performer, is a composer of film scores for his brother, Brian’s, future films. Yes, this is the answer that makes people fear they are engaged in conversation with a lunatic. But, hey, why not dream big? I’ll bet John Williams’ mom had big plans for her son, too. Someone has to write music for movies. Movies would be terrible without music. So…why not Peter? He loves composition and he has an extraordinary understanding of very complex music theory. And, while I’m at it, his little sister, who is following in his footsteps (footshteps, footshteps…sorry, I couldn’t resist an homage to Young Frankenstein – really random, I know) may be destined to be his collaborator. Quite honestly, my husband and I thought she’d make a great high school music teacher. And she just might. But, seeing her grow as an amazing musician in her own right (no an easy task when you are always in your brother’s shadow) and, perhaps, even more technically advanced than Peter was at her age, we have adjusted our plans for her. I believe big things are in store for her, as well. Just remember, in ten years or so, to read the closing credits of the films you’ve finished watching, and don’t be surprised if you see the film score composed by this brother/sister team.
But, what has gotten me writing about this topic, is that we have now approached the time for Peter to begin his Graduate school applications, which of course, means a trip to the liquor store for old Mom. I know what you’re thinking: “Wait a minute. If this kid is old enough to graduate college, he should be able to fill out his own paperwork.” To which I wholeheartedly agree. I merely said I would need a trip to the store. You’re the one reading into this.
After doing a little research recently regarding the application/audition process for this level, my heart stopped for a moment when I saw the December 1st deadline for submission. That means, he has to start NOW filling out the necessary paperwork, gathering his letters of recommendation and preparing for his final senior recital for DVD submission. It’s starting all over again. And we JUST got Mary Kate into Music School…
So, with my children pursuing their dreams in music, film and, yes finance (I haven’t forgotten you, Mike) with the full support of Mom and Dad, I will leave you with what I consider to be a parent’s dream. A few months ago, Peter sent this message out on Twitter that makes it all worth while: “When people sarcastically ask me, ‘What are you going to do with that degree?’ I just say, “I’m gonna’ be happy for the rest of my life.” What more could a parent ask for?