You might recognize Allison Gibbons from her recent role in Orfeo ed Euridice. Allison gives her own insight and perspective on why being a music education major and performing is worth the long hours of practice!
What an incredible semester I have had so far, and I certainly have not stopped once to breathe! Between the recording session and concert in New York with the TCNJ Chorale, preparing for my senior recital, and buckling down to memorize the role of Orfeo, I have done my fair share of running from rehearsal to rehearsal and barricading myself in many a practice room. Of course, a musician’s work is never done; I am working hard to get my materials prepared for graduate school applications by the end of November, and I am also working on my conducting skills as I prepare to conduct a piece at the choir concert on December 2 at 4 P.M.
When I look back at all that has happened so far this semester, I have to say that of the many performances I’ve prepared for over the last couple of months, the most daunting task was preparing for Orfeo. Balancing practice time (which there never seemed to be enough of) between recital repertoire and the Orfeo score was difficult, and the memorization process was long, tedious, and tiresome. Sleep was lost and tears were shed, and I dealt with a lot of self-doubt as I wondered if I would actually be able to do it all and meet the high standards I had set for myself. It was those moments of stress and doubt, though, that forced me to take a step back and think about why I made many of the choices that led me to the place I ended up this year, my final year as a music major at TCNJ.
Why am I a music education major? Why do I perform? If I’m going to exhaust myself doing work in nearly every moment of my spare time, why don’t I work toward something that might actually make some money one day? This semester made me remember that I do what I do because it makes me happy, and I can’t wait to have an opportunity to share what I know and love with other people; I want someone else to find inspiration in music the way that I did and still do every day. Music teaches me new things all the time, whether I am in a practice room, in class, or at a rehearsal.
Sometimes I look at my peers and see many of them seemingly working toward something that they know will yield a nice paycheck one day, or that they chose because it seemed like the only option for them. Being a music education major is something so much more to me than a future source of income; it is my passion, my lifeblood, and to be able to make a career out of this is such a blessing. That being said, I believe that if you’re going to work hard at something every day, it should be something you love.
Performing in Orfeo was good for me for so many reasons. I got to perform a great piece of music with amazing, talented musicians, I got to work hard doing something I love while growing as a musician and performer, and I realized how sure I am that I’m doing what I’m supposed to do—what I need to do—with my life. If you don’t love what you’re doing, don’t do it. Find something that you can be really, truly passionate about and that you can enjoy every day, because if you work doing something you love to do, you’ll never really “work” at all.